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February 11, 2013Stanford's 2013 season got an early boost with the announcement on Monday afternoon that running back Tyler Gaffney would re-join the Cardinal to complete his final season of college eligibility.
Gaffney was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2012 MLB Draft and elected to forego his final year of football eligibility -- or so was thought.
But the opportunity to complete his degree (Gaffney is double majoring in Sociology and Psychology), and compete for a starting spot on a preseason top-10 college football squad proved too tempting an opportunity for Gaffney to turn down.
"This is the ideal time for me to return to the Farm and complete the work toward my degree from Stanford University," Gaffney said in a statement released by the school. "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."
Gaffney best football season on The Farm came in 2011. He rushed for 449 yards (6.1 yards per carry) and seven touchdowns.
If the Southern California native can recapture that form, he will be a strong bet to open the 2013 as Stanford's starting running back. Gaffney is expected to compete with the likes of Anthony Wilkerson, Ricky Seale and Remound Wright for the starting job.
"I'm very proud of Tyler Gaffney making the decision to come back and finish his degree, while also rejoining the football team," Stanford coach David Shaw said. "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."
Gaffney will join Stanford on April 1, the start of the second session of spring ball. In past years Gaffney has missed all of spring ball due to his commitments with the Stanford baseball team.
However, his year in the Pirates' organization concluded his collegiate baseball eligibility.
Fortunately for David Shaw and Gaffney's new position coach Tavita Pritchard, he'll have a year left on the gridiron.