Oh, and he'll be playing football, too. According to GoStanford.com, running back Tyler Gaffney, who left after the 2012 Fiesta Bowl to pursue a professional baseball career, will return to school on April 1st for the spring quarter. "This is the ideal time for me to return to the Farm and complete the work toward my degree from Stanford University," said Gaffney. "As a freshman at Stanford in 2009, I had three goals: play football and baseball at Stanford and receive my degree. Two of the three have been accomplished; I eagerly look forward to completing the third."
You should definitely listen to David Lombardi's exclusive (and free) interview with Gaffney over at The Bootleg, in which Gaffney explains that he's eager to strap on the shoulder pads again this coming fall. But what will this mean for the team when he does?
Senior Anthony Wilkerson tops all current Stanford backs with 914 yards and seven touchdowns in his three-year career, and after that there's a huge drop-off to sophomores Kelsey Young, Remound Wright, and Ricky Seale. Beyond those four, of course, lurks a redshirt freshman named Barry J. Sanders, a player that David Shaw described as the best running back recruit in America on signing day in 2012.
Last week it looked like the 2013 Stanford backfield would resemble the Jackson 5 -- four talented backs destined to be outshone sooner or later by a dynamic youngster -- but now the narrative has changed.
Let's assume that there are 500 carries to go around in 2013. Stepfan Taylor had 322 carries in 2012, but no one will approach that number this fall. No one on the roster has ever carried the ball more than 89 times in a single season (that was Wilkerson's freshman year), and I bet we don't see anyone with more than 200 carries this season. Maybe we end up with something like this:
Wilkerson: 150 carries
Gaffney: 125 carries
Wright: 75 carries
Young: 50 carries
Sanders: 50 carries
Seale: 50 carries
Gaffney will likely end up with somewhere around 125 carries, but even more important than that could be the veteran leadership he'll provide.We can't be sure whether or not Gaffney will simply be able to pick up where he left off after a year of riding busses from one minor league city to the next, but he'll certainly contribute.