It seems like just yesterday you were a freshman wearing number 27, and now, you have only one game left. It’s hard to think that the McCaffrey era is coming to an end. You came to Stanford with a big name, and boy, did you exceed expectations. You made Stanford football exciting, thrilling, and electrifying. Every week, you brought something new, and we all had to watch your highlights over and over again just to believe it actually happened. From your first to last season at Stanford, every moment has been incredible. You truly are a once in a lifetime player.
As a freshman, you showed how special you could be. You didn’t get many touches, but every time you did get the ball, Stanford fans saw a bright spot in a disappointing season. By the end of your freshman year, you began to show star potential and impressed us against Utah, UCLA, and Maryland. When the season came to a close at Levi’s Stadium, it was clear that you were the future of Cardinal football.
Describing your sophomore season is difficult to put into words. It seemed like you found a new record to break every week, and you easily broke a record that stood for twenty-six years. Despite an early season loss, you never hung your head and quickly brought Stanford back into the national spotlight. After a monster game against Oregon State, you had another big game against Arizona and an even bigger game against UCLA. You made defenders look silly, and all of sudden, you were in the Heisman discussion.
By the second half of the season, you began to make yourself a serious Heisman contender and Stanford a serious playoff contender. When Stanford lost to Oregon, Stanford fans gave up on the playoffs, but we never gave up on your Heisman campaign. Following Oregon, you bounced back by breaking Stanford’s single game all-purpose yards record against Cal. Two games later, you broke your own record with 461 yards in the PAC-12 Championship, and even threw a touchdown pass while you were at it. You made a Heisman statement to end the regular season, and we all thought you would return from New York with a piece of hardware. Then, you were denied - robbed, cheated even - and we all were heartbroken.
I can only assume you were disappointed and mad about the Heisman results, but I know you must have been more motivated than ever. At the Rose Bowl, you dismantled the Iowa defense and led a beat down. In your post game interview, I have no clue what you said, but I remember one man stood behind you screaming “Heisman” in your ear. He may have been the one yelling the word, but we were all thinking it.
Headed into your junior year we knew it was near impossible to top the previous season, it was hard to replace experienced players, and it was an extremely difficult schedule. The year started off well at 3-0, but playoff-bound Washington controlled the line and bottled you up. In the next game against Washington State, we were less concerned about the outcome of the game but began to bite our nails when you trotted to the locker room. It seemed unimaginable that a superhero could get hurt, but we were all brought back to reality when you missed Notre Dame. Returning from an injury, many might’ve doubted you, but we never did. In the second half of the season, you reminded the nation why you were so good; you made 200-yard games look easy.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Stanford fans will always miss you at Stanford, but we will never stop rooting for you. No matter what team, no matter how far, my new favorite NFL team will be whoever drafts you. Still, one last game remains in your legendary Cardinal career: the Sun Bowl. UNC vs Stanford was not the matchup we imagined to finish the year, but I for one will cherish every minute of it. Maybe I’ll even make the trip. El Paso might be far, but not far enough to stop Stanford fans from seeing their favorite player wearing Cardinal one last time.
So, thank you Christian McCaffrey. Thank you for picking Stanford as a high schooler. Thank you for making unbelievable plays. Thank you for winning last year’s Rose Bowl. Thank you for breaking the stat sheet. And thank you for bringing your pride to Stanford football.
Best of luck in the future, Christian. We love you.