Christian McCaffrey was honored by his invitation to the U.S. Army All-American underclassmen combine. Really, he was. Problem is, he's not one to walk out on a team -- whether it be football or something else - for any reason.
And that, in short, is why the four-star, Denver (Colo.) Valor Christian running back had to pass on the chance to go up against other rising juniors in San Antonio. He'll still be competing, just not with other top-level talent and not on a football field.
"We have a basketball game, like, the day of the combine," McCaffrey said. "I really wish I could be down there. It's a bummer, but I have a game to play."
Shortly after he shoots his last jump shot of the season, his attention will turn back to his 11 scholarship offers and escalating recruitment. McCaffrey intends to run an unofficial-visit gauntlet of sorts in the spring and summer. His travel itinerary isn't set in stone, but he and his family have grand plans.
"I have an idea of what schools I want to see, but I'm not 100-percent sure on which ones I'll go to," McCaffrey said. "I'll check out Stanford, Duke, probably Notre Dame, Michigan, Oregon, Boise State, Vanderbilt, Washington. Basically, I want to check out all the schools that have shown interest. I don't know if I will make it to all of them, but I want to. You can only take five officials, but I can take as many unofficials as I want."
McCaffrey says coaches from Vanderbilt, Stanford and Duke are pursuing him the hardest as of now. He's heard plenty from Notre Dame, too, but is yet to land an Irish offer. That's subject to change in the near future, though. See, at this point, McCaffrey knows what to expect and when to expect it.
"It's just dead week and all the colleges are playing in bowl games," he said. "Once that's done with, stuff will definitely start up again.
As a junior, McCaffrey isn't in a rush to name a current favorite. His Pro Bowler of a father, Ed, is an alumnus of Stanford. The Cardinal remains very much in the thick of the race to land his verbal pledge. As does Duke, where his brother currently plays wide receiver. At this point, though, what his ties to certain programs mean remains uncertain by design.
If slow and steady really does win the race, McCaffrey is in great shape.
"In about a week, I'll definitely have a shorter list of schools to look at," he said. "I'm going to have a list of schools I'm definitely interested in."
McCaffrey's most recent offer came from Arizona State more than a month ago. In addition to an aggressive schedule of unofficial visits, he also intends to show himself on the summer camp circuit.