Stanford has one of the highest graduation rates in the FBS, with a 99% graduation since 2010. Among the 99% are Heisman Award runner-ups Andrew Luck and Toby Gerhart. However, some players such as Andrus Peat, Alex Carter, and Austin Hooper, have left before graduating in hopes of beginning their NFL careers earlier. The question everyone has in mind is this -- will Christian McCaffrey forgo his senior year and enter the NFL draft in 2017, or will he follow Luck and Gerhart's precedent by staying all four years? Let's look at both sides of the argument.
Why he might stay for his senior year
Those who follow McCaffrey on social media may have noticed that in one of his posts, he wrote "Officially done with sophomore year and turn 20 today! Junior and senior will only get meaner." Yes, he said junior AND senior year, indirectly stating he will stay all four years.
Thanking God for another year. Done with sophomore year & turn 20 today! Junior and senior will only get meaner#BBTB pic.twitter.com/DAOIW0l3R4— Christian McCaffrey (@CMccaffrey5) June 7, 2016
Christian has rhapsodized about his experience at Stanford, saying "Everyone at Stanford is so good at what they do...I love it, it makes going to school and playing football here a lot of fun." He will likely be a high draft pick regardless of the year he's drafted, so why not spend as much time at Stanford as possible? Having a Stanford degree under his belt isn't a trivial matter either.
Why he might leave early
McCaffrey has made quite a name for himself in the college football world. This past season, he racked up more than 100 rushing yards in 11 games, and broke Barry Sanders' long-standing record for all purpose yards in a season. NFL teams are drooling over him, as it is clear that he possesses the strength, speed and skills necessary to be successful at the next level. He would probably be drafted in the first round, which is a great opportunity that many players do not pass up.
However, it's worth noting that in 2015, Ed McCaffrey revealed his viewpoint on this matter, stating "I would encourage players who know that they are going to be drafted in the first or second round to leave early and take advantage of that opportunity. If someone was talking about an actor and they were young, they wouldn't say, ‘Wait 'til you are older to act.' I think it's the same thing with football." While Christian and his father are two different individuals, it is not unlikely that he would take his father's ideas into consideration when deciding whether to stay for his senior year.
From an objective standpoint, whether McCaffrey will use all of his eligibility at Stanford is uncertain. It is doubtful that we will find out his decision until the 2016 season is over, however, one can interpret the points laid out here in different ways.
The good news for Stanford football fans is that a once in a generation player will be on the team for at least one more season. It is fun to speculate about the future, but it is important to not overanalyze and get caught up in uncertain predictions. McCaffrey discusses how he takes everything one day at a time, and as Stanford fans, we should do the same and appreciate having Christian on the team.