Stanford's McCaffrey is among final three for Heisman Trophy | News | Palo Alto Online |


Stanford's McCaffrey is among final three for Heisman Trophy


Stanford sophomore Christian McCaffrey has been named to a very elite group for the Heisman Trophy.

The record-breaking running back and Academic All-American was named one of three finalists for the award presented to the best college football player in the country, joined by junior running back Derrick Henry of Alabama and sophomore quarterback Deshaun Watson of Clemson.

"It's been a dream," McCaffrey said. "To be put in that conversation is extremely humbling."

The winner will be announced Saturday at 5 p.m. PT in New York City and the ceremony will be televised live on ESPN.

"We figured this would happen," Stanford coach David Shaw said of McCaffrey being named a finalist. "He gained more yards than anybody who has ever played. That's something you can't dance around. It's not just a really good year, it's a historic year."

McCaffrey has done it all for the Cardinal. He leads the FBS in all-purpose yards and broke Barry Sanders' 27-year-old NCAA single-season record on Saturday by collecting 461 against No. 24 USC while leading Stanford to the Pac-12 title. He now has 3,496 and averages a nation-best 268.9 yards/game.

The Castle Rock, Colo., native is the fourth Stanford player to be invited to the Heisman Trophy ceremony since 2009, when running back Toby Gerhart finished second behind running back Mark Ingram of Alabama by 28 points, the closest voting in the history of the award. In 2010 and 2011, Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck placed second to quarterback Cam Newton of Auburn and quarterback Robert Griffin of Baylor, respectively.

Quarterback Jim Plunkett captured Stanford's only Heisman Trophy in 1970. He led the team to a Pacific-8 Conference title and engineered a 27-17 upset over previously unbeaten Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.

McCaffrey, the Pac-12 Conference Offensive Player of the Year, is also a finalist for the Walter Camp Football Foundation Player of the Year award, the Maxwell Award presented to the top player in the nation, the Doak Walker Award for the best running back, and the Hornung Award for the most versatile player.

Meanwhile, Shaw was named a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year award. It marks the third time during his five-year tenure as Stanford head coach that he has been honored.

The winner will be announced December 16.

Shaw led Stanford to its third Pac-12 Conference title in the past four years on Saturday night by beating USC, 41-22. The Cardinal (11-2, 8-1 Pac-12) will face Iowa (12-1, 8-0 Big Ten) in the 102nd Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Jan. 1.

A native of San Diego and a Stanford alum, Shaw has compiled a 53-14 record on The Farm. He has recorded 11 or more victories four times.

Last week, Shaw shared Pac-12 Coach of the Year accolades with Mike Leach of Washington State. He previously won the award in 2011 and 2012. Shaw was a Paul "Bear" Bryant Coach of the Year Finalist in 2012, and was AFCA Regional Coach of the Year in 2011, 2013 and 2015.

— Stanford Athletics

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10 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 7, 2015 at 4:48 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

Christian McCaffrey has gained more yards in a single season than any other football player in college football history. He deserves to win this.

3 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 7, 2015 at 5:22 pm

@Nayeli, you chose the one whose parents both went to Stanford (and whose dad has 3 super bowl rings). Arguably I'd venture the other two finalists have come farther. On the other hand, pertinent to Palo Alto Syndrome, Christian has faced near impossibility measuring up to his parents' accomplishments.

11 people like this
Posted by George
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 7, 2015 at 5:45 pm

Christian McCaffrey's genetic stock is high end...not only his parents but also his maternal grandfather (Dave Sime, famous Duke sprinter in the mid 1950's, world fastest human at the time, silver medalist in the 1960 Olympic 100 M dash). However, his work ethic and humbleness also comes from his family. He is a throwback type of player, yet he is truly great on the field, and he deserves the Heisman. Maybe the East Coast bias will work against him, though.

I have watched a lot of Stanford football, and he is the best I've seen.

6 people like this
Posted by Jim
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 7, 2015 at 7:42 pm

I agree with George……been watching Stanford football for more than 55 years……he's the best I've seen. Darrin Nelson and Glyn Milburn were great…..the teams they played on, though, weren't always the best. Elway is still the most talented QB in program history.

4 people like this
Posted by George
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 8, 2015 at 4:15 pm

McCaffrey, over the last year, learned to slow it down, slightly, as he reads his blocks, then he is up to top speed within two steps. Amazing to watch! Darren Nelson was quicker, but he didn't adjust to his blocks. Milburn was also quick (and probably faster than McCaffrey at top end). However, McCaffrey is simply the best all around back I have seen at Stanford. He deserves the Heisman.

I agree that Elway was the most talented QB at Stanford (including Luck, Plunkett, Albert and many others).

2 people like this
Posted by Shallow Alto
a resident of another community
on Dec 8, 2015 at 6:16 pm

I guess everyone here on this discussion thread has forgotten that Derrick Henry and Deshaun Watson are also up for consideration for this year's Heisman Trophy.

But I guess that's to be expected from this group...

6 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 8, 2015 at 10:13 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

@ Shallow Alto: I don't think that anyone else is forgetting the other two Heisman finalists.

My husband is a big fan of college football (and he has slowly turned me into a fan). He thinks that Derrick Henry is a very good "power running back" but thinks that Christian McCaffrey's accomplishments this year is more impressive. He thinks that Deshaun Watson is a very talented QB but just not enough to merit the Heisman.

I don't really follow too many other teams and only know what I hear on television or read online. I suppose that I am a fan of Stanford since my sister is a recent graduate and we live here and attend the games.

I "root for the home team" and the players on that team. I suppose that it is why I cheer for San Francisco in baseball, the 49ers in football, the Earthquakes in futbol and America in the Olympics too.

Christian McCaffrey is an amazing player and he's broken a record that has stood for nearly three decades (which was set by one of the greatest football players of all time -- and another Heisman winner). I would like to see him win.

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