Over the next week, Zona Zealots will be previewing the Arizona Wildcats’ 2013 roster in advance of their season opener against NAU on Aug. 30 (For the full list of position previews, click here).
RSr. Kylan Butler (Antioch, Calif./De La Salle), RSr. Daniel Jenkins (Moreno Valley, Calif./Rancho Verde), RJr. Terris Jones (Long Beach, Calif./California), Jr. Ka’Deem Carey (Tucson, Ariz./Canyon del Oro), RSo. Jared Baker (Los Angeles/Loyola),
J.T. Washington, Elliot Taylor, Taimi Tutogi
With Ka’deem Carey’s offseason off-the-field issues and Daniel Jenkins’ temporary departure, this was almost a position of concern for the Arizona Wildcats. However, both players are back and give the Wildcats one of the more experienced backfields in the country.
Carey, the nation’s leading rusher a year ago, was a consensus All-American after rushing for 1,929 yards and 23 touchdowns. He already has established himself as one of the best backs in program history, and with another big season can catapult himself into the discussion of best running backs of the BCS-era.
However, it was uncertain whether or not Carey would be eligible this year after an offseason that included assault charges pressed against him by his pregnant ex-girlfriend, a dismissal from an Arizona Wildcats basketball game and multiple traffic violations.
Carey, whose son Kaison was born in late-July, had the charges dropped against him and has regained standing with the football team, according to Rodriguez. In his first public interviews since the incidents, he showed a lot of maturity and did not reject any questions about his offseason.
The Wildcats are also happy to have their fellow “starting tailback” back, as Daniel Jenkins decided to nix a transfer to Washington State to return to Tucson. Jenkins ran for 293 yards and two touchdowns as Carey’s backup last season.
There is a lot of depth behind Carey and Jenkins, as Jared Baker and Kylan Butler are both former three-star recruits, while Terris Jones recently earned a scholarship and will likely play on special teams. Highly-touted recruits Pierre Cormier and Zach Green have a shown a ton of upside in fall drills, but will likely be redshirted due to the position’s depth.
With a lot of uncertainty in the passing game, it helps to return a solid core of running backs. Don’t be surprised if the running game is just as potent again this season.