Hamilton football standout Verdon changed college plans after ‘an amazing experience’

Hamilton running back Malik Verdon carries the ball during their game against Fairfield Friday, Sept. 11, 2020 at Virgil M. Schwarm Stadium at Hamilton High School. Hamilton won 28-25. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Hamilton running back Malik Verdon carries the ball during their game against Fairfield Friday, Sept. 11, 2020 at Virgil M. Schwarm Stadium at Hamilton High School. Hamilton won 28-25. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Malik Verdon planned to play college football locally. Then, some bigger schools came calling for the Hamilton athlete.

Verdon, a wide receiver, quarterback and safety for the Big Blue, had committed to Miami this summer but de-committed Nov. 12 after some Power 5 conference teams started coming after him. He gave a verbal agreement to Iowa State on Nov. 14.

He was one of a handful of area football players putting pen to paper on their college commitments this week by signing their letters of intent, including Middletown linebacker Cameron Junion (Cincinnati), Lakota West defensive linemen Andre Proffitt (Akron) and Aneesh Vyas (Bucknell), Fairfield offensive lineman Ethan Tyla (Southern Illinois) and athlete Jaydan Mayes (U.S. Military Academy) and Ross offensive lineman Kaden Rogers (Ohio University).

“What changed my mind was the culture around Iowa State and just wanting to play at highest level I could,” Verdon said. “I wanted to be able to showcase my talent with a great team and great culture around it. I felt like it was a family and a safe environment. There’s not much going on out there, so there’s not much to distract me from my work and school.”

Hamilton rarely took Verdon off the field, and he showed off his athleticism all the while. He rushed for 363 yards and five touchdowns, caught four passes for 80 yards and two more scores and finished with 38 tackles and two interceptions on defense. Both he and Junior were first-team All-Greater Miami Conference picks.

Verdon was recruited as a safety. He and his mom went out to watch the Nov. 7 game against Baylor, which the Cyclones won 38-31, and Verdon said it was “an amazing experience.” Iowa State will play Oklahoma for the Big 12 title on Saturday and he now looks forward to trying to make an impact on the program in the future.

“It felt a lot more real (signing),” Verdon said. “It made me feel --- I don’t know, just joy. I was happy and excited. I can’t wait to get up there and start a whole new chapter in my life.”

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