Valor Christian graduate Christian McCaffrey named Heisman Trophy finalist

Valor Christian running back Christian McCaffrey. (Mark Adams)

Former Valor Christian running back Christian McCaffrey, pictured during his high school career. (Mark Adams)

Christian McCaffrey, a 2014 graduate of Valor Christian, was named one of three finalists for the Heisman Trophy on Monday evening.

McCaffrey, now a sophomore star at Stanford, will head to New York City for the award ceremony on Saturday. He joins Alabama running back Derrick Henry and Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson as finalists.

The Heisman Trophy is awarded annually to the top player in college football. And McCaffrey certainly fits that description. He leads all Division I players with 3,496 all-purpose yards, breaking the record of 3,250 set by Barry Sanders in 1988.

The sophomore has done it all for Stanford this season, with 1,847 yards rushing, 540 receiving, and 1,109 in the return game. He has accounted for 15 total touchdowns this season, including two passing scores.

In a lot of ways, it mirrors what he did during his high school career at Valor Christian, where he was a four-year starter.

To this day, McCaffrey still holds state record for all-purpose yards in a career with 8,839. He’s also second in career points (848), touchdowns (141), and receiving touchdowns (46).

At Valor, where he was running back, slot receiver, defensive back and punter, he helped the Eagles to four state championships in his career, and was the CHSAANow Class 5A player of the year as a senior. He was also named the state’s Gatorade player of the year in 2012 and 2013.

But McCaffrey didn’t limit himself to football. He averaged 11.1 points and 2.5 assists per game as a four-year varsity player for the school’s basketball team. He also participated on the track team, and routinely qualified for the state meet.

This season’s award will be the 81st in Heisman history. The Heisman Trophy ceremony will be broadcast on ESPN at 6 p.m. Saturday.

No product of a Colorado high school has ever won the Heisman Trophy, though Loveland graduate Collin Klein was a finalist for the award in 2012 while at Kansas State. He finished third.

The closest a Colorado product has ever come to winning the trophy is a runner-up finish — twice.

Byron “Whizzer” White finished second in voting in 1937, the third year of the award. White played at the now-closed Wellington High School, and later became a Supreme Court Justice. He was inducted in the CHSAA Hall of Fame in 1998.

Then, in 1977, Mitchell graduate Terry Miller was second to Earl Campbell while at Oklahoma State. Miller was also fourth in 1976.

Colorado lineman Joe Romig was sixth in the voting in 1961. He graduated from Lakewood. He was inducted into the CHSAA Hall of Fame in 1993.

Stanford is set to play in the Rose Bowl against Iowa on Jan. 1, 2016 after winning the Pac-12 Championship Game against USC last weekend. McCaffrey was named the MVP of that game after amassing 461 all-purpose yards.

On Saturday, Valor Christian won the sixth football championship in school history, beating Pomona to win Class 5A. The team was led by quarterback Dylan McCaffrey, Christian’s younger brother. And Luke McCaffrey, another brother, was a freshman on the varsity team.

The trio’s oldest brother, Max, helped Valor Christian win state titles in 2009, 2010 and 2011. A wide receiver, he will finish his senior season at Duke after the New Era Pinstripe bowl on Dec. 26.

The boys are the sons of Lisa and Ed McCaffrey, who met while in college at Stanford. Lisa played soccer, and Ed played football. Ed went on to play for the Broncos, the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants over 13 seasons.