By Sandeep Chandok
3,864: the NCAA single-season all-purpose yardage record.
6,191: the FBS record for all-purpose yardage over a two-season stretch.
2015 Associated Press Player of the Year.
First-team All-Pac-12 in 2015 and 2016.
2015 Heisman Trophy runner-up and victim of theft.
Christian McCaffrey: the man who has accomplished all of the above.
The Stanford running back announced yesterday via Twitter that he will not play against North Carolina in the Sun Bowl on December 30 because he wants to begin training for the NFL.
McCaffrey’s decision to enter the 2017 NFL draft also came via Twitter earlier this month and with his countless accolades, McCaffrey will certainly be a top prospect.
This is likely why McCaffrey chose to surpass the final game of his collegiate career.
He has constructed such an impressive resume in his three years at Stanford (well, most of his damage was done in the last two seasons) that one more game will not make a difference on his draft stock.
It’s the Sun Bowl, for crying out loud.
This ain’t the Pac-12 title game, Rose Bowl or BCS Championship. There is nothing on the line worth McCaffrey compromising his future.
That being said, McCaffrey is healthy and because he is, many are advocating that McCaffrey play in his final collegiate game, questioning his competitiveness and arguing that he will have plenty of time to prepare for the draft after the game, should he choose to play.
Whether McCaffrey goes for 10 yards or 327 in his last game, will NFL scouts really think he is that much worse or that much better based off a single-game sample?
I would sure hope not.
Other opposers say that McCaffrey is bailing on his teammates and chasing money based off his decision.
Some of McCaffrey’s teammates openly support his decision, however.
As for chasing money, NFL running backs have a history of short careers and why risk getting injured in a game that does not matter?
Imagine for a moment that McCaffrey takes a handoff, cuts from right-to-left and as he plants his right foot, his knee buckles (knock on wood) and he is carried off the field.
There goes his draft stock and possibly his career.
Now, I understand that injuries can occur in any game.
That’s sports and that is life.
McCaffrey’s decision to sit out of the Sun Bowl is to prevent any freak injuries and look forward to an NFL dream.
In last season’s Fiesta Bowl, Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith tore his MCL and ACL in his left knee in what was his last collegiate game and caused him to fall in the draft.
McCaffrey likes his knees too much to play in the Sun Bowl.
Although his insurance policy grants him $5 million in the case of a career-ending injury, a long and healthy NFL career is what McCaffery envisions for his future.
He’s not chasing the money, he is being smart and no one should doubt his love for the game or say he does not care about his teammates.
Fellow star running back Leonard Fournette of LSU has also chosen to skip his team’s bowl game due to an aggravated ankle that he does not want getting any worse.
Put yourself in McCaffrey’s shoes and think about what you would do.
It’s easy to say you would take the field, but, there is a lot on the line in McCaffery’s case, which is why he made the right choice.
For an opposing opinion, check out Luke Johnson’s article: