Christian McCaffrey was an amazing all-purpose running back at Stanford who should have won the Heisman Trophy in college. He surprised some as the Panthers’ No. 8 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft and then immediately crushed it as a tough runner and dangerous open-field receiver
McCaffrey is the best running back in the league now and it all started with his pedigree and production in an amazing high school career. The son of former Broncos Super Bowl champion and Pro Bowl wide receiver Ed McCaffrey starred for Valor Christian in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, a suburb of Denver.
Speed and athleticism has run in the family for a long time, whether it’s Ed, Christian’s mother Lisa (a former soccer player and daughter of an Olympic sprinter) or paternal uncle Billy, who played basketball at Duke, where Christian’s brother Max also played football as a swift wide receiver. Another brother, Dylan, now plays QB under head coach Ed at Northern Colorado, while the youngest, Luke is now a QB at Rice.
Here’s a look back at how Christian, the best of them all, saw his superstardom rise during his teenage years:
Christian McCaffrey high school stats
While at Valor Christian (not named after him), McCaffrey (5-11, 205 pounds) did play running back as he does in the NFL, but he also played wide receiver (not surprising) and punter. He also played basketball and was a standout track athlete.
During his playing career from 2010-2014, McCaffrey set state records for total TDs (141), receiving TDs (47) and all-purpose yards (8,845). He was named Colorado’s Gatorade Football Player of the Year twice for his junior and senior seasons.
Here’s a look at his year-by-year high school numbers, courtesy of MaxPreps:
Freshman year (2010-11)
- Rushing yards: 934
- Rushing TDs: 14
- Receiving yards: 462
- Receiving TDs: 7
- All-purpose yards: 1,396
Sophomore year (2011-12)
- Rushing yards: 1,153
- Rushing TDs: 22
- Receiving yards: 657
- Receiving TDs: 10
- All-purpose yards: 1906
Junior year (2012-13)
- Rushing yards: 1,390
- Rushing TDs: 223
- Receiving yards: 665
- Receiving TDs: 14
- All-purpose yards: 2,481
Senior year (2013-14)
- Rushing yards: 1,863
- Rushing TDs: 27
- Receiving yards: 721
- Receiving TDs: 16
- All-purpose yards: 3,032
Christian McCaffrey high school highlights
McCaffrey was a top-100 recruit from Valor Christian with a four-star rating and he was still underrated. According to Rivals.com, he was the 77th-best overall player but the third best all-around running back. He chose Stanford for the combination of strong athletics and great academics. It didn’t hurt that’s where Ed McCaffrey also played college football and met his mother Lisa.
What’s scary is that Christian continues blow past and run around NFL defenders with the same speed and quickness he displayed out-sprinting his best high school in college competition.
His recruiting film shows a technically sound well-coached player. Christian learned well from Ed’s professionalism and ultimate winning success with another notable former Stanford superstar, John Elway. He has good burst between the tackles with developed superior route-running for the position to match his exceptional hands.
McCaffrey seems to have an extra gear, mentally and physically. He anticipates how defenders will try to stop him and uses his explosiveness and elusiveness to win most of his open-field battles. From the sizzle reels above to the lesser-seen footage, that’s fully on display.
Here’s what McCaffrey’s impact was over an entire game, the 2013 Colorado state championship played on the Broncos’ home field, where Ed once played. He’s the most put-together player on the field, in terms of mind and body.
Few players at any position can seamlessly carry that presence from college to the NFL. The Panthers were fortunate to tap into a talent who is the best total scrimmage back the league has seen since Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk. Should McCaffrey stay healthy for a few more seasons, he will also will be on the fast track to Canton.