- Kyle Bonagura, ESPN Staff Writer
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Our countdown of the Pac-12’s Top 25 players from the 2013 season continues.
You can review our 2013 preseason Top 25 here.
No. 13: Tyler Gaffney, RB, Stanford
2013 numbers: Gaffney carried 330 times for 1,709 yards and 21 touchdowns and caught 15 passes for 86 yards and another score.
Preseason ranking: Unranked
Making the case for Gaffney: Gaffney's decision to leave Stanford after his junior season to pursue professional baseball appeared to be the right decision after he hit .297 with a .483 on-base percentage in the New York-Penn League. His decision to return for one more football season looks even better. Gaffney used his final year of eligibility to finish eighth in the country in rushing (1,709 yards) and third in carries (330) -- numbers he wouldn't have sniffed in 2012 because he'd have been backing up the school's all-time leading rusher, Stepfan Taylor. The plan going into the season was that he'd split time with Anthony Wilkerson and others, but it became apparent early that wouldn't be the case as Gaffney clearly separated himself from the pack. Now Gaffney again finds himself at a crossroads: baseball or football? Stanford coach David Shaw has made it clear he believes Gaffney is an NFL-caliber back and the Pittsburgh Pirates have left the door open for his return to the organization. He'll continue to pursue both sports until it's obvious which is the better path.
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6hKevin Gemmell and Erik McKinney