Christian McCaffrey won't play in Stanford's bowl game.
The RB, who intends to enter the 2017 NFL Draft, announced the decision via Twitter on Monday. The Cardinal will play North Carolina on Dec. 30 in the Sun Bowl (El Paso, Texas).
The announcement marks the end of an illustrious college career. Christian McCaffrey, the son of former Broncos WR Ed McCaffrey, broke Barry Sanders' record in 2015 for most all-purpose yards in a single season (3,864). He was the Heisman runner-up to Alabama's Derrick Henry that year. McCaffrey missed one game (vs. Notre Dame in October) with an injury this season and finished with 2,327 all-purpose yards in 2016.
His announcement comes a few days after LSU RB Leonard Fournette, who also intends to enter the 2017 draft, said that he won't play in the Tigers' bowl game so that he can rest his injured ankle and prepare for the draft.
Less than two weeks ago, when McCaffrey announced he would apply for early draft eligibility, he wrote in a letter that "I wanted to get this out of the way so that it's not a distraction to the team. I want to focus, and I want my team to focus, on beating North Carolina. I'm thankful for the chance to get to play another game with my teammates and to work as hard as I can to make that victory possible."
His plans changed at some point after he made that statement, and while this probably won't sit well with some Stanford fans, it's not surprising that he's choosing to protect himself rather than risk injury in the Sun Bowl.
While two players -- Fournette and McCaffrey -- don't make a trend, it will be interesting to see if other college stars follow suit in the days to come. Of course, scouts would like another opportunity to see players like Fournette and McCaffrey play, but these are two players with little left to prove at the college level. As NFL.com analyst and former scout Bucky Brooks recently wrote in a tweet, scouts might view their decisions differently if their teams were playing for a chance at the national title. However, their teams aren't in the College Football Playoff. While they might have to answer questions from NFL teams about why they didn't play, it's unlikely that sitting out will damage their stock.