Stan­ford star will not play in bowl

Chris­tian McCaf­frey to skip Sun Bowl vs. North Carolina to pre­pare for draft.

The Times-Tribune - - Sports - BY RALPH D. RUSSO

Chris­tian McCaf­frey is done play­ing col­lege football even though Stan­ford has one more game.

The star run­ning back wants to pre­pare for the draft and said Mon­day on Twit­ter he will not play in the Sun Bowl. The No. 16 Car­di­nal (9-3) face North Carolina (8-4) on Dec. 30 in El Paso, Texas.

“Very tough de­ci­sion, but I have de­cided not to play in the Sun Bowl so I can be­gin my draft prep im­me­di­ately,” McCaf­frey said. He thanked his team­mates for their sup­port. “It means a lot to me. Go Car­di­nal!”

Stan­ford re­ceiver Tren­ton Ir­win posted on Twit­ter: “The whole team sup­ports @CMc­caf­frey5 in ev­ery­thing and any­thing. He’s been a leader to this team through the easy times and tough times.”

McCaf­frey is the sec­ond prom­i­nent player to make such a de­ci­sion for the same rea­son. LSU run­ning back Leonard Four­nette has said he will not play in the Citrus Bowl.

McCaf­frey said last month he would be skip­ping his se­nior sea­son to en­ter the NFL draft. He was the Heis­man Tro­phy run­ner-up in 2015 as a sophomore when he set the NCAA record for allpur­pose yards in a sea­son.

“For three years, Chris­tian has not only been a great player, but a great team­mate as well,” Stan­ford coach David Shaw said in a state­ment. “We wish him great suc­cess at the next level, as we con­tinue our prepa­ra­tion for the Sun Bowl.”

This sea­son, McCaf­frey missed a game against Notre Dame with an undis­closed in­jury, but fin­ished the sea­son strong. He had at least 135 yards rush­ing in his fi­nal five games and fin­ished the sea­son with 1,603 yards on the ground and 13 touch­downs.

“I don’t think it takes away from the fact we’ve still got two pretty good football teams that are go­ing to play,” Sun Bowl ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor Bernie Oli­vas said. “Yeah, it would have been great to have a pro­lific run­ner like Chris­tian McCaf­frey go­ing against a pro­lific passer like (North Carolina quar­ter­back) Mitch Tru­bisky, but I to­tally un­der­stand where he’s com­ing from. I still hope he makes the trip and en­joys the fes­tiv­i­ties we have for the teams.”


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