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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Tucson’s Ka’Deem Carey making strides for Arizona football

Larry Hogan / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Thanks to a record-setting high school career, when Tucson native Ka’Deem Carey, came to Arizona as a four-star running back recruit, everyone expected big things from him.

Carey, a Canyon del Oro high school graduate who locked down his spot as the Wildcats’ starting running back, said he embraces the pressure on him to succeed.

“I just set my goal at whatever it takes to win,” Carey said. “If I got to go out there, lay a block, score an extra touchdown, make the extra yard [for the win] or go over 100 [yards], go over 200 [yards] and score four or five touchdowns. Whatever it takes for the team to do it, I’m going to be there for it.”

Arizona started this season 3-0 and is ranked No. 22 in the latest AP poll, partially because of Carey’s performance.

The true sophomore has 344 yards on 59 attempts along with a team-high six total touchdowns — but on top of the consistency he has also stepped up in big moments.

Carey raced down the field for a 73-yard go-ahead touchdown against Toledo and then followed it with four touchdowns in the upset of then-No. 18 Oklahoma State.

Co-offensive coordinator Calvin Magee said the team is looking to get more players involved in the run game, specifically junior Daniel Jenkins, but in the Wildcats’ two games against FBS opponents, Carey was the featured back.

“As a running back I love to take carries, I love to take them hits,” Carey said. “Just to be a workhorse for us. I want to be a reliable source if they want to come down to me just to get that one yard that we need.”

So far, Carey’s numbers have met Magee’s expectations.

“[Carey] has been doing a lot of other stuff too which has been really impressive,” Magee said. “[He’s] playing without the football, blocking and picking up blitzes and catching the ball a little bit too. He plays the whole play, and that’s what we ask our guys to do.”

But for residents of Tucson and Oro Valley, it’s not a surprise to see success from the charismatic Carey.

“We knew he was an explosive player,” said Dustin Peace, his head coach at Canyon del Oro. “I’m just excited for him as heck to see it all happening here in town, that’s what’s awesome about it.”

During his four years at CDO, Carey amassed 5,701 yards and a Group 4A all-time record of 87 career touchdowns. He was also less than 200 yards away from the all-time yardage mark.

“He’d become such a legend in this town, high school-wise, that it makes a great fit for him to go to UA and do what he’s doing,” Peace added.

As a top recruit, Carey had several choices of where he could attend school, but eventually settled on his hometown university.

He said that having his family and friends constantly in the crowd is extremely beneficial.

“I love it. It gives me an extra boost out on the field, just knowing people know me and they’re cheering for me,” Carey said.

“They know me personally, not just the person [with] a helmet.”

Magee and Peace both have coached Carey at different stages of his life, but they both agree he has supreme dedication to football, and even more importantly, a great personality.

“Everybody loves him,” Peace said. “He has the biggest smile on at all times, he’s fun to be around, he’s one of the nicest young men I’ve ever met. He has a lot of reasons to be a different guy, but he’s a really good kid.”

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