According to a report from The Oklahoman, senior running back Barry Sanders has been granted his release by Stanford football to pursue transfer opportunities in programs outside of the Pac-12. He has not yet chosen which school he will play for next season.
“It was great [at Stanford],” Sanders told The Oklahoman. “For the time being, it was exactly what I wanted to do.”
Sanders will receive his undergraduate degree in communication from Stanford this June and will thus be eligible to play immediately at his new institution under the NCAA’s graduate transfer rule.
Although he was part of Stanford’s regular running back rotation for each of the last two seasons, he was never able to see consistent touches in Stanford’s offense. He rushed for 315 yards in each of his last two seasons on The Farm and 664 yards and 5 touchdowns in total during his Stanford career.
He split time in the backfield last season with Remound Wright and Kelsey Young before Wright eventually emerged as Stanford’s preferred back, particularly in goal-line situations. Meanwhile, he figured to play a bigger role in Stanford’s rushing attack this season but didn’t see much time as Christian McCaffrey became Stanford’s workhorse back en route to his school-record 2,019 rushing yards and NCAA-record 3,864 all-purpose yards.
Wright also took almost every snap this season in goal-to-go and short-yardage situations, leaving little room for Sanders to make an impact.
With McCaffrey set to again get the lion’s share of the carries next season and with rising sophomores Bryce Love and Cameron Scarlett likely to see increased roles in the offense as well, Sanders would possibly not have seen many opportunities next season at Stanford, either.
Sanders scored the first touchdown of his career on a 22-yard run against Washington State in 2013 before scoring four more this season, including a career-best performance against Oregon State in which he found the end zone twice while rushing for 97 yards on seven carries. He followed up his performance in Corvallis with another long touchdown run against Arizona a week later.
Although Sanders will not be allowed to transfer to a school in the Pac-12, he is completely fine with that restriction, according to The Oklahoman’s report.
“Stanford is the best team in the conference,” he said to The Oklahoman. “It wouldn’t make sense to go within the conference. I’m really unsure at this point, so we’ll just take it day by day.”
Rumors have been circulating that Sanders will try to go to Oklahoma State to follow in his father’s footsteps, although Sanders has not yet been in contact with the school. Sanders, a four-star recruit in the 2012 class, was the eighth-ranked running back prospect in the nation when he chose Stanford over Oklahoma State four years ago.
Contact Do-Hyoung Park at dhpark ‘at’ stanford.edu.