I had a chance to speak with Shane Vereen this evening about his decision to leave Cal for the NFL draft. He didn’t say too much more than he did to his hometown paper.
One thing I asked him about was whether he felt he could improve his draft stock by returning for his senior season, considering the uncertainty surrounding the offense.
“I can see both perspectives,” Vereen said. “My stock might be who I am right now. I might not be able to change that. But at the same time, I feel like I always can improve and get better. Whether that was going to happen at Cal or not, who knows? But I always feel like I can improve and do better.”
Vereen said he truly did not think about the decision until after the season because he wanted his sole focus to be on the team. And he said although he believes this is the right timing for him to leave, he said the way last season went made him think strongly about coming back.
“That definitely almost brought me back,” Vereen said. “I would love to help Cal get back to where it should be.”
Vereen said the feedback from the NFL is that he should be a second or third round pick, but Vereen said his decision was based mostly on a gut feeling. He said no matter where he is projected, he feels like now is the time to leave.
“Regardless of the information I got, it was just a gut feeling,” he said. “Nothing is for sure. You never know until the draft actually happens. If I get drafted lower, I’ll just have to work my way up.”
Vereen said he has talked a lot with former Cal running back Jahvid Best in recent weeks, mostly to get advice on agents. He has also sought counsel from former running back Justin Forsett.
Vereen has already received his degree in media studies, graduating in 3 1/2 years. He is going to be training in Southern California as he prepares for Cal’s pro timing day, individual workouts and likely an invitation to the NFL scouting combine.