Valor Christian High School’s Christian McCaffrey, a recent Stanford commit for the 2014 class, has arguably one of the most exciting and impressive highlight tapes this season.
The 4-star running back will follow in the footsteps of his father Ed, a former Cardinal wide out and long-time Denver Bronco.
McCaffrey stands in at only 6’0” and 193 pounds, so he does not have ideal size for the type of between-the-tackles runner Stanford usually looks for. However, he really doesn’t need it.
Looking at his highlight tape, the top recruit from Colorado possesses a skill set that will greatly improve the Cardinal offense. He has an exceptional burst of acceleration, blazing straight-line speed, and outstanding lateral quickness.
On top of those assets, McCaffrey is a versatile tool. Despite his small size, he can run the ball up the middle. He also has plenty of experience lining up in the slot, on the outside, catching passes out of the backfield, and returning kicks.
McCaffrey was also heavily utilized in pre-snap movement, often going in motion before the play to throw off the defense.
This kind of skill set can take the Cardinal offense from good to great. We’ll see how it fares in 2013 without Stepfan Taylor, but there are several concerns. While Anthony Wilkerson and Barry Sanders Jr. are both solid backs, and the return of Tyler Gaffney certainly won’t hurt, none possess the versatile skill set of McCaffrey.
Especially after the loss of Chris Owusu after the 2010 season, Stanford’s offense has lacked a weapon that can truly change the game or is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. McCaffrey provides that threat.
Based on his wide array of talents, I think McCaffrey’s contributions to the Cardinal offense may end up being
comparable to those of De’Anthony Thomas at Oregon. He will likely be the “X-factor” who lines up at numerous positions and makes big plays when his team needs them.
Because of his versatile skill set and all-around talent, expect to see David Shaw utilize McCaffrey early and often upon his arrival at the Farm in 2014.