Christian McCaffrey absolutely lit up all of College Football during his time at Stanford. Setting numerous records in Stanford and the NCAA, McCaffrey has a unique blend of skill and athletic ability that make him into such a versatile weapon on offense. This versatility made him an exceptional rusher, receiver, and returner during his time in Stanford. He was an outstanding college player during his last two years at Stanford and has left little doubt in anybody who has seen him play, that he can have success at the pro level. Let’s take a look at some of his college stats and highlights.
Age: 20 (born: June 7, 1996)
Weight: 200 lbs
Christian McCaffrey was a four-star recruit out of high school and was rated as the 77th best player overall in his recruiting class. In his freshman season with Stanford, McCaffrey played in all 13 games as a true freshman. He ran for 300 yards on 43 carries and had 251 receiving yards on 17 receptions and two touchdowns. He also returned nine punts for 154 yards and five kickoffs for 91 yards finishing the season with 796 all-purpose yards.
In his breakout sophomore season, he went on to break Barry Sanders’ NCAA record of 3,250 all-purpose yards, by finishing with 3,864 all-purpose yards and 15 total touchdowns. He had 337 rushing attempts and ran for 2,019 yards along with eight rushing touchdowns. He had 645 receiving yards on 45 receptions along with five receiving touchdowns. He also returned 15 punts for 130 yards and one touchdown and returned 37 kickoffs for 1,070 yards and another touchdown. He finished his sophomore season as a consensus All-American, the Associated Press College Football Player of the Year, Pac-12 Player of the Year, and Paul Hornung Award winner. He also finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting, losing to Derrick Henry. Stanford made it to the Rose Bowl that year and during the game, McCaffrey became the first player ever to rush over 100 yards and have over 100 receiving yards in a Rose Bowl game. He went on to finish with 368 all-purpose yards, which was a new Rose Bowl record.
Christian McCaffrey’s junior season statistics are a far cry from his breakout sophomore season, but still nothing to scoff at. McCaffrey finished with 1,603 rushing yards on 253 attempts and 13 rushing touchdowns, 310 receiving yards on 37 receptions and three receiving touchdowns. He also ran back 10 punts for 96 yards and 14 kickoffs for 318 yards finishing the year with 2,327 all-purpose yards. He led the nation in all-purpose yards per game finishing with 211.6 yards per game. He led the Pac-12 in rushing yards and was fourth in the nation in rushing yards per game finishing with 145.7 yards per game. He was named to the All Pac-12 first team and also named the CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year.
On Wednesday, December 7, 2016, McCaffrey made his highly anticipated NFL draft announcement by sending out this tweet.
Christian McCaffrey finishes his career with the Stanford Cardinal with a total of 6,987 all-purpose yards. Many NFL draft analysts believe that his unique versatility will translate well at the pro level. While not predicted to be a 25 carry per game running back, draft analysts think that his versatility as a receiver and returner will still help his draft stock, though he still needs to work on his pass protector skills. Right now Christian McCaffrey is projected as the third running back to be picked somewhere in the first or second round of the draft.
On Monday, December 19, 2016, Christian McCaffrey announced that he will be skipping the Sun Bowl, where Stanford and North Carolina will face off, in order to prepare for the upcoming draft. He sent out this tweet earlier in the day.
Christian McCaffrey is not the first highly touted running back to take this course of action, as LSU’s Leonard Fournette made a similar decision to not play in LSU’s bowl game so that he could nurse any lingering injuries in order to be fully prepared for the draft. These two have undoubtedly deserved to make these decisions, as they have showcased their talents and abilities throughout the entire season and have very little left to prove. Some may see this as an upcoming trend, for players to skip meaningless bowl game in order to avoid any major injury. Last year, Notre Dame’s Jaylon Smith was a projected top 10 pick but suffered a horrible knee injury during the Fiesta Bowl and ended up getting picked in the second round. A horrible injury could cost these players millions, so they are taking a much more cautious approach than what we have seen in years past, with players playing regardless of their bowl game.