Arizona Wildcats junior running back Ka’Deem Carey will enter the NFL Draft, the school announced Monday afternoon.
“I’m excited for the next phase of my career and to enter the NFL Draft,” Carey said in a statement.
“I want to thank God, my family, Coach Rodriguez, Coach Magee and all of my coaches for everything they’ve done for me. My time playing football for Arizona will always be very special to me and I want to thank the fans and the Tucson community for supporting me throughout my career. The future of Arizona football is bright. Bear Down.”
Carey, a two-time consensus All-American and the 2013 Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year, is rated as the No. 1 draft-eligible running back by NFLDraftScout.com. A story on Yahoo! Sports reported that at least two teams pegged Carey with a first-round grade during the draft advisory process.
That kind of opportunity is nearly impossible to pass up.
“Ka’Deem Carey was a great player for us,” UA coach Rich Rodriguez said. “We wish him all the best as he pursues his professional career.”
Carey holds at least 23 school records, including career marks for rushing yards (4,239), all-purpose yards (5,483), rushing touchdowns (48) and total touchdowns (52). He was the fourth player in school history to repeat as a first-team AP All-American.
His 1,929 yards in 2012 ranks as the fifth-best rushing season in Pac-12 history, and his 1,885 yards this season ranks seventh. The only other player to have two top 10 rushing seasons in conference history is USC’s Charles White.
Carey, who finished 10th in the Heisman balloting — the best finish ever for an Arizona player — is the 17th running back to declare early for the draft.
Here are the others:
George Atkinson III, RB, Notre Dame
Kapri Bibbs, RB, Colorado State
Isaiah Crowell, RB, Alabama State
Devonta Freeman, RB, Florida State
Jeremy Hill, LSU
Storm Johnson, UCF
Henry Josey, Missouri
Tre Mason, Auburn
Adam Muema, San Diego State
Darrin Reaves, UAB
Bishop Sankey, Washington
Lache Seastrunk, Baylor
Jerome Smith, Syracuse
De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon
Terrance West, Towson
James Wilder Jr., Florida State