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CDO tailback Ka'Deem Carey, the state's best running back in his class, will join the UA football program after completing his senior season (Photo by Andy Morales/TucsonCitizen.com)
No truth to the rumor that Canyon del Oro senior-to-be tailback Ka’Deem Carey performed a flip — like he did to score a touchdown as a freshman — in front of UA coach Mike Stoops after he announced Friday that he will play for the Wildcats in 2011.
However, Stoops and/or Carey may have flipped in private in jubilation over the high-profile prospect’s decision. Stoops not only acquires the state’s top running back after next season, but he also defeats ASU coach Dennis Erickson for yet another coveted in-state recruit.
Salpointe Catholic’s Jacob Arzouman, whose name freakishly sounds similar to “Arizona Man”, is one of the best — if not the best — offensive lineman Class of 2011 prospects in the state. He committed to Stoops and his staff on Monday. ASU was hot on Arzouman’s trail along with Stanford and Oregon State.
Another Class of 2011 standout in the state — Chandler dual-threat quarterback Brett Hundley Jr. , son of former Wildcat football player Brett Hundley Sr. — lists Arizona as one of his finalists along with as many as 15 schools including ASU. If Stoops lands Hundley Jr., Carey and Arzouman for 2011, it could be the best in-state talent crop signed in one recruiting class by Arizona.
Stoops also signed the state’s top recruits in 2009 (Palo Verde safety Adam Hall) and this year (safety Marquis Flowers of Goodyear Millennium).
Carey is not one to be shy (flipping for a score is a good indication) and he told me Friday that he has some bold ambitions for his upcoming senior season.
“By me going to Arizona, I definitely want to become a hometown hero,” said Carey, a 5-foot-8-inch, 180-pound elusive runner who rushed for 2,738 yards on 224 carries last season. “I am shooting for another state championship (CDO captured the 4A-I state title last year). I am gunning for 3,000 yards and I want to play a little more on defense. I’d like to play safety more.”
When asked if 3,000 yards is achievable, Carey said confidently, “Oh yeah, I came close last year, so I don’t see why I can’t get it this year. I don’t think it should be too difficult.”
Carey also said that academically he “will be fine especially now that I don’t have to worry about recruiting” during his senior season.
He must complete qualifying core courses to clear the NCAA clearinghouse, and he has yet to take his college entrance exam. Some recruiting insiders believe Oregon backed off of Carey because of concerns regarding his academics.
“Arizona coaches have always been there, and I respect that,” Carey said.
Carey is not a native Tucsonan — he moved to Tucson from New Jersey when he was 7 — and he did not grow up following local talent in high school or the UA. The only local legend whom he knows anything about is former Cholla High School and UA standout Vance Johnson, who happens to be his uncle.
Carey wears Johnson’s familiar No. 25 that he wore with the Wildcats from 1981-84.
“I watched football when I was growing up, but just the pros, not high school or college,” he told us. “I grew up liking the Philadelphia Eagles. My favorite player is Brian Dawkins. He plays with so much fire and intensity. I like that. I want to play like that.”
Dawkins, a 14-year NFL vet and eight-time Pro Bowl selection, is a safety. Hence, Carey’s desire to try safety more.
Some who witnessed Carey rack up 45 touchdowns last year — many of them the long breakaway variety — believe he could have played in college already. “My body is ready,” Carey said. “It’s exciting for me also that Arizona has a really good strength program. I look forward to being part of that and getting that much stronger.”
Carey’s former CDO teammate Josh Robbins, son of UA Sports Hall of Fame defensive back Randy Robbins, was overjoyed to say the least about Carey committing to the Wildcats. “It’s gonna be awesome having one of my best friends ball out with me at the next level,” said Robbins, a safety heading into his freshman season with the Cats.