Ka’Deem Carey doesn’t make many missteps when it comes to football, but he nearly did as a senior in high school.
Carey, from Canyon del Oro High School, took his recruitment down to the wire in 2011, nearly picking Arizona State over his hometown Arizona Wildcats.
“It was close. That’s why it’s so unbelievable. I can’t believe I had that as an option,” Carey said after Tuesday’s practice.
“I find it really funny because now I can’t stand them. The thing about me going there, it’s like, ‘Dang, what were you thinking?’ I grew up as a young man to realize that was just a young, crazy Ka’Deem back in the day trying to go there.”
Each program moved on from its head coach at the time — Mike Stoops for Arizona, and Dennis Erickson for Arizona State — and it’s all worked out well for Carey and Arizona. He was a consensus All-American last season and is on his way to repeat honors this season — and perhaps even more. Doak Walker Award winner? A Heisman finalist?
Carey ran for 172 yards on 25 carries against Arizona State last season. And he had his most productive day as a true freshman in the game at ASU, rushing 13 times for 92 yards and catching four passes for 47 yards.
Even though he grew up in Tucson, he said was unprepared for the reality of the rivalry in that first season at Sun Devil Stadium.
“I couldn’t understand until I went there and saw people ripping off shirts, screaming and spitting at you,” he said. “I was like, ‘These dudes really hate us.’ I never knew it was like that.”
He’ll return to Sun Devil Stadium this Saturday, when the Cats take on ASU, starting at 7:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks). It was announced Tuesday night that the game is sold out, with limited standing-room only tickets going on sale for $45 at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
Arizona wore red helmets at practice but announced on Twitter afterward that it will be wearing its copper helmets for Saturday night’s game.
In the battle of sartorial splendor, Arizona State will be wearing white helmets, black jerseys and black pants.
So much for each school’s traditional colors.
(Arizona will have a fan announce the rest of the Cats’ uniform combination on Twitter later this week.)
Austin Hill update
Arizona Wildcats junior receiver Austin Hill, recovering from an ACL tear late in spring practice, went though pregame warm-ups against Oregon on Saturday, which was a hopeful sign. It remains a long shot that he’ll play this week at Arizona State, though.
This is Hill’s third week back at practice.
“I think he’s a little bit better every week,” Rodriguez said.
“But is he going to be ready to play in a game? That’s another leap, another step. It’s really up to Austin and how he feels, and the training staff.”
Escaping the bath
Rodriguez darted out of the way of being drenched with Gatorade by his players at the end of the win over Oregon, saying he saw them coming out of the corner of his eye.
“I’m disappointed in my son,” Rodriguez said about Rhett, a freshman at Catalina Foothills High School.
“He’s standing right behind me and didn’t give me a heads-up or nothing. He could have kicked me in the shin or something, but I think he wanted me to get soaked.”
Rodriguez jokingly chastised his players for not putting “one of the big, fat guys” out front to block his view.
“They must not have won a whole lot of big games because our guys aren’t experienced in coach dousing,” he said. “This is a learning experience for all of us.”
RichRod vs. Michigan
This graphic appeared on EPSNU, with a screenshot captured by elevenwarriors.com: