Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey will not play in the Sun Bowl. The Cardinal star will instead start prepping for the 2017 NFL Draft.
Christian McCaffrey’s Stanford career has come to an end.
The star Cardinal running back announced via Twitter on Monday morning that he is electing to skip the team’s Sun Bowl game against North Carolina. McCaffrey decided it would be in his best interests to get an early start on his preparation for the 2017 NFL Draft.
So college football officially loses one of its brightest stars of the past decade.
— Christian McCaffrey (@CMccaffrey5) December 19, 2016
McCaffrey finishes his Stanford career with 3,922 rushing yards, 1,206 receiving yards, 1,859 return yards and 33 total touchdowns. He recorded 1,603 yards on the ground this past fall.
The 2016 season didn’t exactly go as planned for the junior McCaffrey, who battled a midseason injury for a team that wasn’t a real contender in the Pac-12. Coming off of a season in which be recorded 3,864 yards to break Barry Sanders’ NCAA single-season record for all-purpose yardage, finished second in Heisman Trophy voting behind Alabama’s Derrick Henry and racked up a record 368 all-purpose yards in a 45-16 win over Iowa in the Rose Bowl, McCaffrey recorded a significantly lower amount of all-purpose yardage.
However, the do-everything running back still managed to lead the nation with 2,327 all-purpose yards, and his rushing average actually improved from 6.0 yards per carry in 2015 to 6.3 yards per carry this season. Once again, he was able to put his rushing, receiving and returning skills on display to NFL observers.
LSU’s Leonard Fournette will also sit out his team’s Citrus Bowl contest in order to prep for the draft. Keep in mind that Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith suffered a significant knee injury in last year’s Fiesta Bowl, which has affected his NFL career. So it will be interesting to see if a trend emerges with star college players opting to sit out of non-championship bowl games in the future.
Before making his decision to leave school early, McCaffrey said that he talked to former Stanford running back and fellow Heisman runner-up Toby Gerhart about an early jump to the NFL as well as Cardinal head coach David Shaw
The Cardinal and Tar Heels are slated to meet on Friday, Dec. 30 in El Paso, TX.