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Top 50 football players in Arizona Wildcats history: No. 19 Trung Canidate

Photo illustration by azcentral sports.

Photo illustration by azcentral sports.

Position, years at UA: Running back, 1996-99.

Honors, accomplishments at UA: Was an AP third-team All-American in 1998 and 1999. … Led the Pac-10 in rushing and was first-team All-Pac-10 in both seasons. … Holds the school record with 3,824 career rushing yards. … Led nation with average of 7.3 yards per carry in the regular season as a junior.

Why he made our list: He often changed just how much daylight he said he needed to break a long run — sometimes 18 inches or 16 inches or 14 or, when he was feeling particularly slippery, just six — but, for sure, he didn’t need much.

Canidate’s forte was his acceleration through holes big or small, and his legacy was the way he left defenders in the dust. Here is one of the more amazing stats in school history: Canidate averaged 43.8 yards on his 26 career touchdown runs.

He holds the school record for longest scoring run (96 yards vs. San Diego State in 1997) and twice ripped off touchdown sprints of 80 yards — one against ASU in his epic 1998 game and the other vs. the Sun Devils in 1999.

“He had so many long runs,” former UA coach Dick Tomey said, “maybe more than anybody in the Pac-10 ever had. Such an explosive player. Nobody made a greater impact on our offense during the years we were there than Trung.”

His school season record of 1,602 yards (set in 1999) was broken last year by Ka’Deem Carey, who will take aim at Canidate’s career record this season. Canidate also holds the UA record for most 100-yard rushing games (18).

His most memorable outing was his 288-yard performance, on only 18 carries, in UA’s wild 50-42 victory over ASU in 1998. Canidate scored on blasts of 80, 66 and 48 yards (see video below).

Life after college: Canidate was a last pick by the St. Louis Rams in the first round of the 2000 NFL draft, but his career never really took off as his speed suggested it would. He appeared in only three games, rushing three times, in his rookie season, limited by ankle and foot sprains.

Canidate averaged 5.7 yards on 78 carries as a backup to Marshall Faulk in his second season, showing big-play potential with 195 yards against the New York Jets and 145 yards vs. Carolina two games later. Fumbling issues in the 2002 preseason bumped him down the depth chart, and he was traded to Washington in March 2003.

He had his best pro season with the Redskins, starting 10 of his 11 games and gaining a team-high 600 yards on 142 carries, although he again was bothered by ankle problems. The Redskins, who acquired Clinton Portis after the 2003 season, cut Canidate in the summer of 2004.

His final NFL rushing numbers: 240 carries for 1,095 yards and seven touchdowns.

Canidate, a Central High graduate, lives in Phoenix.

In partnership with the Arizona Republic, we are counting down the top 50 football players in Arizona Wildcats history. Leave your top 10 at AG’s Wildcat Report on Facebook, and check out azcentral.com for the countdown of ASU’s Top 50 football players.

Arizona’s top 50

No. 50 — LaMonte Hunley

No. 49 — Hubie Oliver

No. 48 — Rob Gronkowski

No. 47 — Jim Donarski

No. 46 — Ontiwaun Carter

No. 45 — Steve McLaughlin

No. 44 — John Fina

No. 43 — Glenn Parker

No. 42 — Bobby Lee Thompson

No. 41 — Marcus Bell

No. 40 — Fred W. Enke

No. 39 — Ka’Deem Carey

No. 38 — Juron Criner

No. 37 — Dana Wells

No. 36 — Tom Tunnicliffe

No. 35 — Bruce Hill

No. 34 — Chuck Osborne

No. 33 — Brandon Sanders

No. 32 — Sean Harris

No. 31 — Mike Thomas

No. 30 — Bobby Wade

No. 29 — T Bell

No. 28 — Joe Salave’a

No. 27 — Eddie Wilson

No. 26 — Chuck Levy

No. 25 — Allan Durden

No. 24 — Nick Foles

No. 23 — Tony Bouie

No. 22 — ‘King Kong’ Nolan

No. 21 — Bill Lueck

No. 20 — Walter “Hoss” Nielsen

* * *

Here are highlights of Canidate’s legendary game against Arizona State in 1998. His 80-yard run starts at the 30-second mark, and then go to 9:50 to see his 66-yard sprint and to the 11:28 mark to check out his 48-yard score down the sideline:

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