By Mark Haas
DENVER (CBS4) – There is nothing new about Christian McCaffrey helping out at his dad’s annual Dare to Play football camp.
“I’ve been doing it for about 6 years, since I was a freshman in high school,” Christian McCaffrey says. “I keep coming back because it is one of the best experiences of the year.”
But while in years past, Christian was just one of Ed McCaffrey’s four athletic sons, this year Christian is one of college football’s biggest stars.
In 2015, the Stanford sophomore running back broke Barry Sanders’ NCAA record for all-purpose yards in a season and finished as the Heisman Trophy runner-up.
In 2016, he will be a Heisman frontrunner.
“I stay the same, I stay grounded,” McCaffrey says about trying to follow-up that performance this year. “I wasn’t trying to beat any records, I just go out and play football and that’s what I will do this year too.”
And his Super Bowl champion dad, Ed McCaffrey, agrees that the newfound fame hasn’t affected his now 20-year-old son.
“He’s the same kid he was 6 years ago, he hasn’t changed a bit,” Ed says. “A little bigger, smarter and wiser, but he is the same kid.”
In a way, Christian has always been in the spotlight because of his dad, but that spotlight is now brighter than ever. Even if Christian says he hasn’t paid attention to all of the hype.
“I just try and only go on social media when I am posting something,” Christian says. “I don’t read anything, or look at any of that stuff. As weird as that sounds, it is possible to not pick up my phone every 5 seconds.”
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t out there. A video of Christian playing the harmonica went viral last week, because, well, he’s Christian McCaffrey. And if he wanted, McCaffrey could read any number of scouting reports on himself as a future NFL draft pick.
“At the end of the day what matters is what you do on the football field,” Christian says. “How they rate you … If I focus on anything else, my mind is in the wrong place.”
But while Christian may seem to be ho-hum about what others think about him, make no mistake, he isn’t lacking in confidence in himself.”
“You have to look at yourself as the best, even when others don’t think so,” Christian says. “Ask the best players and they will say they are the best. That has to be the mindset going into any game, any season, any practice or otherwise you won’t reach your full potential.”