Just last week, fellow top running back prospect Leonard Fournette announced that he would skip LSU’s bowl game so that he could protect his injured ankle in advance of the draft. The notion of a player skipping a bowl game in order to focus on his pro career was once considered crazy, but many have come out in support of McCaffrey and Fournette in light of what happened to Notre Dame star Jaylon Smith a year ago. There is also a growing movement for college players to receive compensation and from a fiscal standpoint, it makes little sense for a player to jeopardize their livelihood for free.
In the cases of McCaffrey and Fournette, both of their teams fell outside of the College Football Playoff. If Stanford and LSU were in the mix for the national championship, they may have reached a different conclusion. In the future, however, it’s not hard to imagine elite prospects saying no to even top-tier bowl games in order to safeguard their careers.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.