The Times-Tribune

Stanford star will not play in bowl

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

- 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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