Watching Christian McCaffrey play football reminds many people of the lyrics to the song, Mr. Touchdown USA.
As Hugo Winterhalter’s tune says, “give him the ball and just look at him go.”
McCaffrey, the Valor Christian running back who has committed to play football at Stanford, was a threat each time he had the football this season en route to helping the Eagles to their fifth consecutive Colorado state championship.
And for the second straight year, the 6-foot, 195-pound senior has been named the Colorado Community Media South Metro Offensive Player of the Year.
“He has to be considered as one of the best in the state all-time,” said Valor coach Rod Sherman. “In the month of October he had 17 carries the entire month. He never once was frustrated with that; he never once was disappointed he didn’t touch the ball more. He was thankful his teammates got the opportunity.
“It’s his character, his leadership. He practices harder than anyone in our program and we have a lot of guys that practice hard. He’s the best practice player I’ve ever coached. On the field I think his versatility is what sets him apart from others. If we would have given him 20 carries a game I am assuming he would own every state record for rushing.”
McCaffrey rushed for 1,863 yards on 157 carries and scored 27 touchdowns during the 2013 campaign. He caught 39 passes for 721 yards and 16 TDs. He also punted nine times for an average of 41.2 yards, returned 10 punts for 296 yards and two scores and had five kickoff returns for 107 yards.
Defensively, McCaffrey was used sparingly but had one sack, three pass break-ups, two interceptions and one defensive score.
A two-time Colorado Gatorade Player of the Year, McCaffrey has led Valor to state championships in each of his four seasons. The Eagles whipped Fairview 56-16 Nov. 30 at Sports Authority Field to win their second consecutive Class 5A title and Knights defensive end Carlo Kemp was nothing short of impressed after playing against McCaffrey.
“He is the best player in the state with the way he runs and the way he fines holes,” Kemp told BoCoPreps. “He’s robotic. I don’t think he’s human. He changed the way we prepared on defense and got the better of us.”
McCaffrey’s uncanny career statistics place him second all-time in the Colorado records books for points (848), touchdowns (141) and TD receptions (47), and first with 8,456 all-purpose yards. He also ranks first in the 11-player ranks for touchdowns and points.
“It’s been a really fun ride,” McCaffrey said. “I can remember back to my freshman year playing with my brother (Max) and all his buddies. I wouldn’t take any of it back. I definitely feel I improved in multiple aspects this season; the experience, getting comfortable and not getting as nervous before games. I’ve gained some weight and improved on my speed and quickness.”
McCaffrey showed the ability to gain the tough yards inside the tackles and still displayed quickness and elusiveness on the outside.
“He’s the whole package,” said Sherman. “Early in his career he was more of an edge runner. This year he’s shown he can get five yards between the tackles. He understands the difference of when to do that and when to bounce it outside.
“People often ask me if he is going to Stanford to be a running back. Absolutely he is going to be a running back. They can run option routes with him, flank out and he is arguably the best kick and punt returner in the state.”
McCaffrey has played behind talented offensive lines at Valor and he formed a mutual admiration society with the linemen.
“You couldn’t ask for a better dude,” said tackle Alec Ruth. “He works so hard on the field and he is probably one of the most humble dudes I’ve ever met in my life. He makes the rest of the offensive line look real good. ... He gives us recognition (too). He bought us dinner after our first game.”
McCaffrey, the son of former Denver Broncos wide receiver Ed McCaffrey, knows a lot of his success starts up front.
“It’s awesome especially when you have an offensive line like ours,” said McCaffrey, who also manages to maintain a 3.65 grade point average. “You get through the hole and you just see green. It’s really fun. That’s the best feeling in the world to hit the hole and see nothing in front of you.
“I can’t thank those guys enough for what they’ve done. They make my job so easy. I look up to those guys.”
And the rest of the state looks up to McCaffrey.