Running back Tyler Gaffney will rejoin the Stanford Football team April 1 for the first time since the 2011 season. Gaffney is leaving professional baseball to return to the Farm for his football senior season and the completion of his Stanford degree.
April 1 is the first day of the spring quarter on campus and starts the second session of the Cardinal's spring practices. Gaffney is pursuing a double major of Sociology and Psychology.
"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.
"Additionally, I intend to rejoin my Cardinal football family and play my senior year of college eligibility. As I have grown and matured over the past year, I have come to realize how much I missed my football family at Stanford and how much I missed the game of football.
"I am thankful to the Pittsburgh Pirates organization for allowing me the opportunity to play professional baseball. They are a great organization, who permitted me to grow and mature in character. With the benefit of this experience, I will continue to learn about myself and follow the path where my truth will lead me."
Gaffney's football path left off after the 2012 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. He completed his junior season with a career-high 449 yards (6.1 yards/carry) and seven touchdowns on the ground, plus 79 receiving yards and one more touchdown. Gaffney ranked second behind Stepfan Taylor among Stanford rushers in 2011 and recorded a string of 67 consecutive carries without a loss. He has career totals of 791 yards and 12 touchdowns rushing, plus 178 yards and three touchdowns receiving.
"I'm very proud of Tyler Gaffney making the decision to come back and finish his degree, while also rejoining the football team," said Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football David Shaw. "Tyler's first three years at Stanford, he contributed to a lot of big games and a lot of big wins. He will join a talented and diverse group of running backs, which as a unit we believe is as good as any in the nation."
After the conclusion of his junior year, Gaffney was selected in the 24th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2012 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. He signed with the organization and played a successful 2012 season with Class-A affiliate State College Spikes, hitting for a .297 average and recording a .483 on-base percentage.
Gaffney's baseball signing concluded his college baseball eligibility but maintained his college football eligibility. After playing three seasons starting his true freshman year in 2009, the 6-foot-1, 225-pound athlete will play his fourth season of college football this fall as a senior.
Recently named by the San Diego Union-Tribune to the All-Time All-County First Team, Gaffney at Cathedral Catholic High School rewrote the CIF San Diego Section record books: most points scored in a career (598), most points in a season (336), single-season rushing yards (2,866), single-season rushing touchdowns (48), most touchdowns in one game (7), and second-most career rushing yards (5,547).
Pac-12 Champion Stanford returns to the practice field in two weeks for the start of spring football on Feb. 25. Gaffney and his teammates will be on display at Stanford Stadium for the Cardinal & White Spring Game on April 13 at 3pm, free and open to the public.
Season tickets are currently available for renewal and deposits are being taken for new purchases for the highly anticipated 2013 Cardinal season at GoStanford.com or 800-STANFORD. The defending Rose Bowl Game Champions kick off their season opener at home Sept. 7 vs. San Jose State.