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Mike Stoops: Carey’s signing shows rare loyalty within state

Ka'Deem Carey.
Photo by Deirdre Hamill/The Arizona Republic

The highest-rated prospect in the state of Arizona — offensive lineman Christian Westerman — is going to Auburn.

The second-best prospect, according to Rivals.com, signed UCLA.

Keep going down the list: Signed with USC, signed with Oregon, signed with Oregon, signed with Nebraska.

Then you get down to running back Ka’Deem Carey from Canyon del Oro High School, the seventh-best recruit in the state.

In a tug-of-war between the major state schools, Carey signed with Arizona over Arizona State on Wednesday. And that’s a sign, Wildcats coach Mike Stoops said, that his program has at least earned some loyalty to the few BCS-level recruits that emerge from Tucson each year.

“I think there’s loyalty now to the University of Arizona,” Stoops said.

“We don’t have loyalty in this state. If you look throughout the players, whether they’re Phoenix or Tucson, there isn’t a great deal of loyalty. People are brought into this state from all over the country. Move in and move out. But we’ve developed loyalty, at least in Tucson.

“We’ve gotten every quality player in Tucson over the past four years.”

He corrected himself right after that to note that Sabino’s Keanu Nelson signed with Stanford last season. It’s always hard to go head-to-head against the academics of Stanford.

Arizona signed Carey and Salpointe Catholic offensive lineman Jacob Arzouman this season. It signed Josh Robbins from CDO last season. It signed Palo Verde star safety Adam Hall and linebacker Jake Fischer from Ironwood Ridge the year before that.

Carey committed to the Cats in June but wavered during the recruiting process and took an official visit to Arizona State late last month.

“I talked to Ka’Deeem a lot about character, about loyalty, about commitment,” Stoops said. “I think that hit home with him and he understood that meant a lot.”

Only one of Arizona’s 22-player class is from the Phoenix area — defensive end Reggie Gilbert from Laveen.

“We’re trying to expand that to Phoenix, but I can’t explain why we haven’t had more success there,” Stoops said. “It’s something we’ve tried to develop.”

Stoops did sign the top-rated player in Arizona last season — safety Marquis Flowers from Goodyear — but five of the state’s top eight recruits left the state. This year, only two of the top 14 in-state recruits stayed within the borders: Carey and offensive lineman Mo Latu, who signed with ASU.

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