Christian McCaffrey to skip Stanford’s bowl game to prepare for draft

Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press
Christian McCaffrey to skip Stanford’s bowl game to prepare for draft

Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey announced Monday that he will sit out the Cardinal’s meeting with North Carolina in the Sun Bowl on Dec. 30, officially ending his college career.

McCaffrey, the second-eldest son of Lisa McCaffrey and former Broncos receiver Ed McCaffrey, announced earlier this month that he will forgo his senior season at Stanford and enter the 2017 NFL draft.

“Very tough decision, but I have decided not to play in the Sun Bowl so I can begin my draft prep immediately,” he tweeted. “Thx to all my teammates for their 100% support — It means a lot to me. Go Cardinal!”

McCaffrey, a former Valor Christian star, is projected by multiple outlets as a late-first-round selection and leaves Stanford with multiple school and NCAA records. This season he led the nation with 211.6 all-purpose yards per game and ranked fourth with 145.7 rushing yards per game. He was named to the All-Pac-12 first team and was voted as Stanford’s MVP for the second-consecutive season. McCaffrey, a communications major with a 3.43 GPA, was also named CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year.

In 2015, McCaffrey snapped Barry Sanders’ NCAA all-purpose yards record with 3,864. He finished second in the nation with 2,019 rushing yards and became the first player in Stanford history to top the 2,000 mark in a season. Among his many accolades following his sophomore campaign, McCaffrey was named the Associated Press’ College Football Player of the Year, Pac-12 Player of the Year, Paul Hornung Award winner for most versatile player, and the Heisman Trophy runner-up.

In McCaffrey’s final game with Stanford, a 41-17 win over Rice on Nov. 24, he recorded 271 all-purpose yards and scored two touchdowns. In his career, McCaffrey amassed 3,922 rushing yards and 21 rushing touchdowns, plus 1,206 receiving yards and 10 receiving touchdowns. His 6,987 career all-purpose yards rank second on Stanford’s all-time list, behind Darrin Nelson’s 7,120.

“What he’s done here at Stanford is jaw-dropping. It’s awe-inspiring. It’s up there with Andrew Luck and John Elway and Jim Plunkett — guys that have done phenomenal things,” Stanford coach David Shaw said during McCaffrey’s press conference to announce his draft decision. “… I think he’s done all that you can do at the college football level. I think he’s mentally, physically and emotionally prepared for this next step and we are excited for him.”

McCaffrey helped the Cardinal to a bowl game in each of his three collegiate seasons, including last January’s Rose Bowl win over Iowa. He was named the game’s offensive MVP with a Rose Bowl record 368 all-purpose yards.

Stanford (9-3) now prepares to face North Carolina (8-4) in the Sun Bowl without its biggest offensive weapon and one of its captains. The Cardinal is 2-1 all time in the Sun Bowl, having most recently lost to Oklahoma in 2009, and 1-1 against North Carolina.