In recruiting, the legacy thing can go either way. On one hand, it's an lazy narrative -- a storyline that's easy to play up even when it makes no difference. Bloodlines are readymade. They're boxed, sliced and fit for immediate consumption. In the case of Christian McCaffrey, however, the angle isn't a forced concoction.
No, For the Highland Ranch (Colo.) Valor Christian running back, there's a real draw. Two of them, actually.
His Pro Bowl wide receiver of a father, Ed, cut his teeth on the national scene at Stanford. That's the tie everyone will discuss and look to blow out of proportion as McCaffrey's recruitment progresses. Problem is, the high school junior's link to Duke, where his brother Max currently plays, may actually matter more.
And those are McCaffrey's thoughts, not the direction of some prearranged narrative.
"Maybe I put some pressure on myself to consider Stanford a little bit, but my dad's role in it … he just wants me to go wherever fits me best," McCaffrey, considered by many to be the top 2014 prospect in Colorado, said. "My brother is at Duke, and that would be really fun. I've been playing with him my whole life, so that'd be awesome for me."
Otherwise, McCaffrey takes the familiar every-school-is-equal stance on his college courtship. He currently claims 12 scholarship offers. Duke and Stanford have already pulled the trigger. Arizona State, Iowa, Colorado and Vanderbilt are in the mix as well. He expects Michigan and Notre Dame to offer before the end of his junior season.
In essence, this party is just starting.
"I like every school right now," McCaffrey said. "I haven't started narrowing anything down, but it would be awesome to get offers from schools like Michigan and Notre Dame."
McCaffrey plans to schedule another round of unofficial visits later this month, but won't begin taking them until after his high school season. He drops no hints as to which schools will make the list, but discusses an abstraction of what he's looking for in a college. It's not unique or groundbreaking but, hey, it's something.
"I'll look for a good academic college with coaches that care about players," he said. "But I think most of all, I just want it to feel like home. It's not just a place to play football, it's a place to live and study for four years."
Adding more credence to the Duke/Stanford angle is McCaffrey's performance in the classroom. According to him, he currently boasts a 3.5 cumulative GPA. That said, his option are wide-ranging and the choice will be his, not his family's.
"There are more offers coming in," he said. "I'm just going to sit back and wait before I rule anything out or do anything."