During the recruiting process the battle for Ka’Deem Carey’s services came down to Arizona and Arizona State, but there was always another team lingering. Carey made no secret that he was intrigued by Oregon and their high powered offense. Now that the Wildcats have installed a similar offense, the sophomore running back could not be happier.
Ka'Deem Carey helped finish off Oklahma State.
“I just loved the offense that they ran and then he (Rodriguez) brought it here,” Carey said.
Carey has called the offense a “perfect fit” and so far he has 344 yards in the first three games, eclipsing the 100-yard mark two times. After a year of being buried behind senior Keola Antolin, Carey has been good as Arizona’s featured back, averaging just under 20 carries a game.
“It’s just perfect,” Carey said of the new schemes. “I feel like God put this in for a reason. So I am going to capitalize on it.”
Although Carey has a big role in the offense, it will probably be bigger down the road. Due to the current personnel, the Wildcats are throwing the ball more than Rodriguez teams normally do. Despite that Carey already has five rushing touchdowns and another through the air.
Although observers wondered why Carey did not see more playing time a year ago, concerns over blocking did not seem to outweigh his big play potential, there were some maturity issues. Carey had some team rule violations at Canyon Del Oro High School and was missed some time last year as well. The good news is all indications are that Carey is growing up and maturing.
That maturity off the field has led to a better understanding of what is transpiring on the field.
“I feel like I’ve grown into this game,” Carey confessed. “I understand it more than I did my first year here. I can break it down and just know what the defense is doing and read what they are doing and know what the offense is doing each play.”
One thing that Carey has shown is great patience as the game progresses. Against Toledo and Oklahoma State, Carey, and the running game as a whole, struggled to get consistent gains in the early going. It wasn’t until Carey ripped off a 73-yard score against Toledo that the Wildcat run game got cranking.
Carey saw more action on special teams as a freshman.
Against Oklahoma State Carey averaged just 2.2 yards a carry over his first 17 carries. He averaged 9.1 yards per rush over his final nine carries, scoring a pair of touchdowns.
A local product who starred at CDO since he was a freshman, the local fans have an even more rapid rooting interest in Carey. Although the support of the community is a great thing to have, it also creates a lot of pressure. Fans were expecting great things from Carey before he ever donned a uniform and clamored for the prior staff to utilize him, regardless of his limitations.
Carey does not mind the added attention or the pressure of a community.
“I take that as a push,” said Carey. “I know that they are pushing me to do better, so I just want to do better for the city, but I don’t pile it on myself. I think that is too much pressure on a player. I can just block that our and play football, what I do best.”
Carey made no secret of his interest in Oregon early in the recruiting process, but the Ducks never made a push. Some was due to other recruiting coups and a little had to do with some academic concerns prior to his senior seasons. Carey does not hold a grudge, nor does he have any regrets. He soon realized that he wanted to play in-state, close to his family.
It all worked out. Oregon has a full stable of capable runners and Carey is getting to run a similar offense. The new staff have seen him as a focal point of the offense and the fit has been great. He may not get to wear the gold and green that he wore in high school, but he looks pretty good in the cardinal and navy and will get to don a garish copper helmet at least once this season.
Carey seems at ease with his role in the offense, on the team and in the community.
“I am going to do whatever this team needs me to do,” Carey said prior to the start of the season. “Just go out there and give it all I’ve got for us.”
So far the early results have been positive.