Verhagen is a big-play back

One of the most gifted backs in the California JC ranks this year is Saddleback's Cheyne Verhagen (5-10, 185) and he's gotten off to a great start this season. caught up with the Gauchos' playmaker and he talked about his long journey to becoming one of the top backs in the state as well as the recruiting process and where he stands with several programs.

"I went to San Clemente High School in California and I fully qualified, but since I'm LDS and schools knew I was going to take my mission they sort of backed off," Verhagen said recently. "It was kind of frustrating, but it's what happened so I just needed to grow from it and move forward."

Verhagen took his Mormon mission to Milan, Italy shortly after he graduated from high school and, like a lot of LDS players, he said the experience changed his perspective on things.

"It really helped me to mature and focus on things that were more important," Verhagen said. "I really started to realize the important things in life – like education, work ethic and setting goals for yourself.

"It just made me an all-around better person and it helped me to get some perspective on things."

When he returned Saddleback was his desired school because of their reputation of getting players moved on to four-year schools and that fact that he played with a lot of the Gauchos already in high school.

"I think I fit in really well right away with them," Verhagen said. "I played with a lot of them in high school so I just came in and worked hard and did what I could for people to realize that I could still play after being gone for two years."

As a freshman for Saddleback, Verhagen received All-Conference honors by rushing for over 1,200 yards and nine touchdowns and he's hoping to have another big year this fall.

"I run pretty well (4.5 forty time) and we use the spread a lot so that gets me the ball in space where I can use my quickness," Verhagen said. "They move me all over the place. I can play in the slot, out wide and out of the backfield. I mainly run the ball, but I think I have good enough hands to be a threat out there.

"I'm scrappy and I don't go down right away. I keep my feet and legs going so it's tough to get me down with the first hit."

On the recruiting front, Verhagen is hearing from Portland State, Colorado, UNLV and Wyoming.

"I'm open to anyone who wants to recruit me," Verhagen admitted. "I like running out of the spread so it would be great to play in that type of offense still and most of those schools do that, but I just want a chance to play D-1 ball and I think I can help anyone who wants to give me a chance."

Verhagen will finish his two-year degree in December and he'll have three years to play two wherever he ends up.

We'll continue to follow Verhagen's progress this season and have more from him in the coming weeks.

Cheyne Verhagen Scout Profile

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