McCaffrey to skip Stanford’s bowl game against UNC to prepare for draft

Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey (AP image)

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Christian McCaffrey is done playing college football.

The star running back announced on Twitter on Monday he will not play in the Sun Bowl for No. 16 Stanford on Dec. 30 when the Cardinal (9-3) face North Carolina (8-4) 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!”

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

McCaffrey said last month he would be skipping his senior season. He was the Heisman Trophy runner-up in 2015 as a sophomore when he set the NCAA record for all-purpose 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.

“Obviously, there’s a little disappointment, but 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.”

The 6-foot, 200-pound McCaffrey has been one of the busiest ball carriers in college football over the last two seasons. He has 672 touches from scrimmage (590 rushes, 82 receptions) and another 76 kick and punt returns.

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