Every Arizona Football All-American in history: Running back Ka'Deem Carey

The most prolific running back that Arizona has ever had is in elite company as one of only four Wildcats who were two-time All-Americans.
Arizona State v Arizona
Arizona State v Arizona / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

The Arizona Wildcats are far from the most storied college football program in Division I, and they don't often churn out early-round NFL draft picks. Occasionally though, a player comes along whose greatness is nationally recognized while suiting up in the Red and Blue with the 'Block A' on the helmet.

Six Arizona Football players have been recognized as unanimous first-team All-Americans, and they fall into three neat groups that we've already covered: linebackerscornerbacks, and defensive linemen. Now, we're pivoting into the 12 players recognized as consensus All-Americans. In this series, we'll look at all their Arizona careers position-by-position.

The third non-unanimous All-American on the menu is running back Ka'Deem Carey, who still holds every major Arizona rushing record to this day. He is the only strictly offensive player to earn the honors in Arizona history; Dennis Northcutt also earned the honors but his special teams contributions were certainly a factor.

Ka'Deem Carey

Ka'Deem Carey
Oregon v Arizona / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

Despite only playing for Arizona for three seasons from 2011-13, his short stint in Tucson saw him log the two most exceptional rushing seasons the Wildcats have ever seen back-to-back. He is Arizona's career, single-season, and single-game leader in both rushing yards and touchdowns. He has over 800 more yards from scrimmage than Trung Canidate, who is second in the Arizona record books.

As a freshman in 2011, he was the "change of pace" back and served as Keola Antolin's understudy. Despite his position on the depth chart, Carey posted a respectable 425 yards and six touchdowns on 91 carries and caught 15 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns. He led the team in rushing touchdowns and was second only to wide receiver Juron Criner (11) for touchdowns scored on the season with eight. He also was the primary kickoff returner, averaging 21.1 yards on his 26 returns.

With Antolin graduating in the offseason, Carey took up the starting mantle and turned into a freight train in his sophomore year in 2012 en route to the first All-American nod of his career. He carried the ball 303 times, good for seventh-most in the nation, and shattered Ontiwaun Carter's single-season program record of 268 from 1994. He averaged a mind-boggling 6.4 yards per carry — the minimum threshold for a replacement-level running back is 3.3.

His 1,929 yards led the country and bested Trung Canidate's previous single-season program record by more than 300 yards. He scored a program-record 23 touchdowns, which led the Pac-12 and was fourth in the nation. Add on his 36 catches for 303 yards and a touchdown, and you get the first 2,000-yard season from a non-quarterback in Arizona history. Carey was a first-team All-Pac-12 honoree and consensus first-team All-American for his historic 2012 season.

Somehow, Carey followed his 2,000-yard season up with yet another one. Despite serving a one-game suspension, he demolished the single-season carries record once again and logged 349 attempts to lead the conference and rank second in the nation. He racked up 1,885 rushing yards, leading the conference for a second straight season and third in the nation, and his 26 catches for 173 yards planted him at second in the nation with 2,058 yards from scrimmage.

Carey's 19 rushing touchdowns were seventh-most in the country and put him at 48 career rushing touchdowns, breaking a nearly 60-year-old Arizona program record set by Art Luppino. Once again, he earned a consensus first-team All-American nod and was named to the All-Pac-12 first team. He was also named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year before declaring for the draft and foregoing his senior season.

Though the Chicago Bears drafted him into a terrible situation and he flamed out in the NFL, he has carved out a notable career in the Canadian Football League. What will never be forgotten, though, are the legendary back-to-back 2,000-yard seasons that will have him go down in history as a Tucson legend. It's only a matter of time before he's inducted into the Arizona Hall of Fame alongside the three other two-time All-American Wildcat alumni.

dark. Every Arizona Football All-American. DNAA. Wide receiver/returner Dennis Northcutt

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