His father, Gene, was a pitcher for the University of San Diego in the early 1980s. Was a four-sport athlete as a prep in San Diego, participating in football, baseball, basketball and track. On the gridiron, he had 5,547 rushing yards and 99 touchdowns during his high school career. Moved on to Stanford, where he double-majored in sociology and psychology while playing both football and baseball. Saw action in 12 games as a true freshman for the Cardinal in 2009 and rushed 22 times for 87 yards (4.0-yard average) and one touchdown with two receptions for 39 yards (19.5) and no touchdowns. Backed up current Arizona Cardinals RB Stepfan Taylor in 2010 and played in 10 games, with 60 rushes for 255 yards (4.3) and four TDs and three catches for 60 yards and two TDs. Missed three games because of an ankle injury. Again backed up Taylor in 2011 and tallied 74 rushes for 449 yards (6.1) and seven TDs and 12 catches for 79 yards and a TD. Meanwhile, he was a three-year starting outfielder for Stanford's nationally ranked baseball team, batting .301 with a .406 on-base percentage. Was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 24th round of the 2012 draft and pursued a professional baseball career. Spent that summer with the Class-A State College Spikes in the New York-Penn League and hit .297 in 38 games. After the one-year hiatus from football, he returned in 2013 for his senior season and to complete his degree. He also was a starting running back for the first time. Amassed 330 rushes for 1,709 yards (5.2) and 21 TDs and 15 catches for 86 yards and a TD in 14 starts. Rushed a school-record 45 times vs. Oregon.
Excellent size. Effective inside runner. Nice vision and patience. Runs behind his pads -- churns his legs through contact and fights for extra yards. Good hands as a receiver out of the backfield. Highly competitive. Tough and durable. Well-conditioned athlete -- showed he could handle a heavy workload after a year away from the gridiron (averaged 24 carries per game). Very solid in pass protection. Recorded a 6.78-second three-cone time at the NFL Scouting Combine, finishing second among backs.
Tight-hipped and straight-linish. Limited twitch and wiggle. Gears down to cut. Average quickness to and through the hole. Runs duck-footed and lacks breakaway speed -- can be tracked down from behind. Has split his time and training between two sports.
Gaffney, who doubles as a baseball player, rejoined the Cardinal football team after a one-year stint in Class A. Did not skip a beat, shouldering the load as a feature back and putting himself back on the NFL radar by showing inside running skills as a big, athletic, downhill back willing to grind out the tough yards. Has the determination and competitiveness to earn a backup role for a power-running team.