Stanford star running back Christian McCaffrey won't play in the Hyundai Sun Bowl on Dec. 30 in El Paso, choosing to begin his preparation for the 2017 NFL Draft "immediately."

According to a statement posted to McCaffrey's Twitter account, he has the "100 percent" support of his teammates, though his absence certainly will be felt against North Carolina. McCaffrey ranked No. 1 nationally with 211.5 all-purpose yards per game and No. 7 with 1,603 rushing yards.

"Very tough decision, but I have decided not to play in the Sun Bowl so I can begin my draft prep immediately," McCaffrey wrote. "Thanks to all my teammates for their 100 percent support -- it means a lot to me. Go Cardinal!"

The 2015 AP Player of the Year and 2015 Heisman Trophy finalist had a bumpy start to the season but finished strong, rushing for 284 yards against rival Cal in the Big Game to set a new record for that series. There hasn't been another offensive player in the past two seasons who has meant more to his team, so while the support of his teammates is great this will mean Stanford begins working on life after McCaffrey now instead of in 2017.

Prior to the news, Stanford was listed as a 3.5-point favorite against North Carolina in the Hyundai Sun Bowl, which can be seen on CBS and streamed on CBS Sports Digital on Friday, Dec. 30 at 2 p.m. ET.