Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey to Skip Sun Bowl
Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey announced via Twitter Monday morning that he will not play in the team’s upcoming bowl game.
McCaffrey said he would sit out the Hyundai Sun Bowl on December 30th in order to focus on the upcoming NFL Draft. He announced on December 7th that he would be skipping his senior campaign in order to move on to the professional level. The tweet reads as follows:
“Very tough decision, but I have decided not to play in the Sun Bowl so I can begin my draft prep immediately. Thx to all my teammates for their 100% support – It means a lot to me. Go Cardinal!”
Leonard Fournette did the same thing
McCaffrey is not the first high profile collegiate running back that has decided to skip his team’s upcoming postseason game. LSU star back Leonard Fournette also announced last Friday that he would skip the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl to be held on New Years Eve.
Stanford head coach David Shaw had this to say of McCaffrey’s choice to forgo the bowl game:
“We understand that this was a very difficult decision. For three years Christian has not only been a great player, but a great teammate as well. We wish him great success at the next level, as we continue our preparation for the Sun Bowl.”
McCaffrey rushed the ball just 42 times as a freshman but emerged as a national superstar during his sophomore season. He was electrifying that year for the Cardinal, rushing for over 2,000 yards on on 337 attempts with eight touchdowns. He also caught another 45 passes for 645 yards and five scores. He set a new single-season school record with his 2,019 rushing yards, and is ranked eighth on Stanford’s all-time rushing yards list.
He was not quite as dominant this season, but the numbers remained outstanding. McCaffrey toted the ball 253 times and racked up 1,603 yards with 13 touchdowns in 2016.
He was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy following his sophomore campaign, but finished second to Alabama running back Derrick Henry.
Fournette, who has been one of the highest-touted running backs in America from the moment he stepped foot onto LSU’s campus, endured something of an injury-plagued 2016 season. He carried the ball just 129 times for 843 yards and eight touchdowns.
Like McCaffrey, Fournette’s finest statistical season came as a sophomore. He averaged 6.5 yards per carry that season and led the nation with a whopping 22 rushing touchdowns. His 1,953 yards and 22 scores were LSU single-season school records.
Fournette will leave the Tigers ranked fourth on the school’s all-time rushing yards list.
Both players have already drawn a fair amount of criticism for their respective decisions. Considering neither wants to risk injury to play a game that amounts to nothing, though, there is no real reason for it. These decisions were made with their respective futures in mind, and that is something that warrants respect.
Fournette’s rare combination of size and ability will make him a surefire first round draft pick. Running backs have taken a backseat in recent drafts, but those labeled as generational talents still tend to go fairly high.
McCaffrey’s case is murkier. It would be a surprise to see him go in the first round, but he should still be drafted somewhere in round two. This is a fairly strong class of rushers behind Fournette that includes Florida State standout Dalvin Cook, Ohio State’s Curtis Samuel and D’Onta Foreman out of Texas.
The Cardinals will face North Carolina in the Sun Bowl in El Paso, while LSU will take on the Louisville Cardinals in the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.
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