SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Barry J. Sanders’ performance Saturday in the All-American Bowl was a bit like father Barry Sanders’ NFL career. He could have done more before he left.
The younger Sanders will get his chance to show more next season at Stanford. He announced he would sign with the Cardinal — and not his father’s alma mater of Oklahoma State — following the game Saturday.
He had only three carries in the game, including a 10-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter, and his West teammates beat the East 24-12.
His father, the 1988 Heisman Trophy winner at Oklahoma State, stood near his son and other family members when Barry J. announced his decision to go to Stanford on national television in the fourth quarter of the game.
“I think everyone understood my position (about the college choice),” Barry J. Sanders said, wearing a black hat with the block Cardinal “S” on the front. “That program (Oklahoma State) made my family, and I thank them for it. I’ll always have orange in my blood.”
The Cardinal might have won the recruiting, but they lost the game. Oklahoma State beat Stanford this week in the Fiesta Bowl.
Sanders put Stanford on the top of his list weeks back. But he couldn’t commit until he met the school’s eligibility standards. Sanders said he was told Friday that he would be admitted after taking the college entrance exams more than once.
“I believe I’ll be playing with the greatest student athletes in the world,” he said.
Sanders, 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, rushed for 1,324 yards (9.5 yards per carry) and 27 touchdowns this season at Oklahoma City Heritage Hall. The team won two state championships while he was there.
It wouldn’t bother Sanders if Stanford developed another efficient passer such as Andrew Luck, who finished second in the Heisman voting the past two seasons.
“I have faith in the program, that they’ll find a quality quarterback,” he said. “The bowl game showed that with a Heisman Trophy candidate they still ran the ball 30 times. It’s definitely not going to take away from me, whatever quarterback they have.”
Sanders’ final decision also came down to Florida State and Alabama. All commitments are nonbinding. It won’t become official until Feb. 1 at the earliest, the first day letters of intent can be signed.
The other touchdowns from the West came from quarterback Cyler Miles, who starred this year at Mullen High School in Denver and has committed to Washington. Miles was 7 of 8 (the incompletion was a drop), including a game-record 79-yard TD pass to Dorial Green-Beckham and had the game’s first score with a 4-yard run.
Miles also was sacked three times, including once by Shelby (Crest High School), N.C., lineman Johnathan Bullard, who plans to head to Florida after a strong defensive game that also included another tackle behind the line for 12 yards in losses.