Widgets Magazine
McCaffrey to sit out Sun Bowl
McCaffrey's decision comes just three days after LSU's Leonard Fournette announced that he will be skipping the Citrus Bowl. Preserving their bodies for professional competition likely motivated the running backs who both suffered injuries this season. (RAHIM ULLAH/The Stanford Daily)

McCaffrey to sit out Sun Bowl

Junior running back Christian McCaffrey announced Monday morning that he will sit out the Sun Bowl, where Stanford is scheduled to face North Carolina in El Paso, Texas on Dec. 30, in order to prepare for the NFL Draft.

The star running back took to Twitter to announce his decision:

“We understand that this was a very difficult decision,” head coach David Shaw said. “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.”

The Stanford standout amassed a total of 6,987 career all-purpose yards with the Cardinal and finished second in last season’s Heisman voting.

News broke earlier this month that he would forgo his senior year of college to enter the NFL Draft early. He is projected to be a late-first-round selection.

In a recent press conference held by McCaffrey, Shaw lauded both his accomplishments at Stanford and his decision to play in the NFL.

“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,” he said. “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.”


Contact Dhaval Gajiwala at gajiwala ‘at’ stanford.edu.

  • gwynnitas

    Although I greatly admire Christian McCaffrey, I’m not impressed by this decision. Unless he was already nursing an injury and playing in the Sun Bowl risked aggravating that injury, I think this sets a dangerous precedent. Where does a star athlete now draw the line on this kind of decision? Would it have been OK for McCaffrey to sit out a largely meaningless game against Rice at the end of the regular season? Would it have been OK for him to forego the Big Game? Do star football players now get to pick and choose each game they think it’s worth their playing in based on their own professional ambitions? This is not the kind of action Stanford fans are accustomed to seeing from their own student athletes.

  • Irgennod

    So the Sun Bowl becomes more a preview of 2017 than an adieu to 2016.

  • Candid One

    If fans get to pick and choose how players should live their lives, how is it that the players don’t have that self-prerogative? Stanford fans aren’t accustomed to having players of McCaffrey’s caliber, maybe? But, recall that Andrus Peat also left after his junior season, to become a 1st-round pick (#13) in the 2015 NFL Draft, and he’s currently a starting offensive lineman for the New Orleans Saints. Peat had played 3 seasons for the Cardinal. This isn’t typical, but it happens. Andrew Luck left with season of eligibility remaining; he’d redshirted as a freshman but he left after his academic senior year. Christian McCaffrey played as a freshman and gave Stanford as many playing seasons as Andrew Luck gave. Arbitrary standards are fun, huh?

  • Candid One

    We saw that preview when Stanford beat Notre Dame this season with McCaffrey watching on the sidelines in street clothes because of injury.

  • Peter Kleinman

    McCaffrey isn’t “sitting out” Stanford’s last game of 2016; he’s quit the team.
    Sportsspeak across the media.

  • s randall

    Yes, it’s a business. He could have announced that he wasn’t going to play in the Sun Bowl when he announced he was not coming back for his his last year. Anyone that bought tickets to the Sun Bowl in that interval probably feels cheated.

  • StanfordAlum

    Each of those NFL players played out the season they were on scholarship. The Sun Bowl is part of the season. It is not “meaningless”. It counts toward the W-L record of the team. Yards gained, interceptions made, and TDs scored will be part of the individual career stats. And on the other side of the field, the UNC QB could be as high as a top-10 draft pick, and he will be in uniform playing for his college.

    Fans don’t tell players how to live their lives, but colleges get to decide who they offer scholarships and what they represent. Stanford has a great reputation as a destination for student athletes who are team-oriented, want their degree, and also want to compete at the highest level. I agree this sets a very bad precedent.

  • Cannonkat

    There’s NO better prep for the draft than a MEMORABLE grid iron performance in the most important game of the season. Its not good karma.

  • boville

    Sad that he put his interests before that of the team but such is life. This especially in view of the fact that an outstanding performance in a post season game would actually enhance his profile for the NFL draft.

  • Velocity

    Complete bullsh_t move by McCaffrey to quit the team and not play in the Sun Bowl. I lost all respect for him. I don’t think he’s ready for the NFL either; he sucked when the O-line was not performing. The NFL will be a whole nother level he’s not ready for. Guess this is the type of role models with which the MEllennial generation is rewarded, too bad.

  • ripov

    i dont get what the controversy is all about. fournette and mccaffrey both were not 100%. theyre at much greater risk playing injured than if they were healthy. this is a no brainer. i think the argument would be different if they hadnt been injured already.