The Ducks will lose both of their top two running backs this offseason.

After losing Travis Dye to USC via the transfer portal, Oregon found out Monday that its No. 2 back last season, CJ Verdell, will forego his final season of eligibility and remain in the 2022 NFL Draft.

The 5-foot-8, 211-pound running back will leave Eugene as one of the most productive players at his position in the program’s history. In 2019, Verdell became just the fifth Oregon player to rush for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons. He was the MVP of the Pac-12 Championship game in 2019.

After a redshirt season his first year on campus, Verdell exploded out of the gates in 2018. He put up 1,018 rushing yards and 10 scores with a per-carry average just north of 5 yards. He had four 100-yard rushing efforts in his first six games and punctuated the campaign by absolutely running over Oregon State on the road to the tune of 187 yards and four scores.

The following season, Verdell was a little more boom-or-bust, but still more productive, totaling more yards (1,220) on fewer carries (6.2 average). Verdell had three games in 2019 in which he ran for at least 170 yards, including a career-high 257 in a 37-35 win over Washington State.

The California native had 285 rushing yards and three scores in five appearances during the 2020 season and then ran for 406 yards and six scores in five appearances during the 2021 season. The back half of his career in Eugene was marred by injuries. In 2020 and then again in 2021 he suffered season-ending injuries, first a torn ligament in his thumb and then a lower leg injury.

Still, he exits Oregon with 2,929 career rushing yards (the sixth-most in program history) and 27 career rushing touchdowns (seventh in program history).

As Oregon looks to turn the offense over to a new quarterback this offseason, it’ll also have a new face in the backfield. Time to see what freshman sensation Byron Cardwell can do.