Arizona heads into the 2012 season with what appears to be a full stable of capable, if not proven, running backs. With a new emphasis on the run, the Cats will need several reliable runners.
25 Ka’Deem Carey 5-10, 197, So.
3 Daniel Jenkins 5-9, 196, Jr.
Taimi Tutogi 6-1, 260, Sr.
2 Kylan Butler 5-7, 186, Jr.
32 J.T. Washington 5-7, 156, Fr.
23 Jared Baker 5-8, 191, RS Fr.
27 Terris Jones 5-7, 177, Jr.
45 Elliott Taylor 5-10, 182, Jr.
Star In The Making?
Ka’Deem Carey will be the team’s lead running back, a spot many fans thought he should have had last season. Carey showed flashes of greatness and for most of the fanbase that was more than they saw from steady running back Keola Antolin.
Carey has a nice mix of speed and power. He’s not a bruising runner, but can break tackles and gain yardage between the tackles. He should excel in the new Arizona offense as he is well suited to the read-option attack the Wildcats will use. In fact, coming out of high school he was enamored with Oregon’s version of the spread, but wanted to stay close to home. In some ways Carey is now getting a second chance.
“I love the offense,” Carey said.
Ready For His Close-Up
Daniel Jenkins has been a player who has teased Wildcat fans, but has yet to really produce. The redshirt junior has been a solid performer in preseason camps and scrimmages, but has just 39 career carries, despite being the second string running back for most of last season.
Jenkins, like Carey, seems very well suited to the offense. He has good speed and shiftiness and can catch the ball out of the backfield. If he stays healthy, he seems on tap for 10-15 touches a game.
We all know Taimi Tutogi will see the field. He is the Wildcats’ lone fullback and will also see 10-20 snaps on defense as a pass rusher. The only real question is whether Tutogi will actually get the ball in his hands.
Tutogi was used several times during the spring game and said then that the coaches have discussed expanding his role, but his part-time move to defense may restrict his use on offense as anything more than a blocker.
Best Of The Rest
Kylan Butler is the team's third running back coming out of camp, but the junior has just nine career carries and will have to fend off other players. J.T. Washington has the speed and shiftiness to succeed in the offense, but may redshirt. Jared Baker, Terris Jones and Elliott Taylor may also factor into the mix.
If Carey keeps his head on straight he can be a really good running back. 800-1,000 yards this season is not out of the question and flirting with the All-Conference teams in years to come is realistic. Of course, Carey has to stay focused or he could become a “what if?” guy. So far his focus and commitment have been great.
Jenkins is more than capable if healthy, but that is a big if. Tutogi can help as a receiver/runner, but my guess is that his role on defense may limit, if not eliminate those touches. Although I’d like to see him redshirt, it would not surprise me to see J.T. Washington see the field, possibly as the third tailback.
There is enough talent, with Matt Scott running the read option, for Arizona to have their best rushing attack in years. If Scott and/or Carey goes down, that would likely change.