Ka'Deem Carey | 5'10, 197 pounds | Running back | Arizona | Junior
2012 Stats: 303 rushing attempts, 1,929, 23 touchdowns, 36 catches 303 receiving yards, one touchdown
Ka'deem Carey made history in 2012.
The Arizona running back led the nation in rushing yards with 1,929, but that total was also a school record. His 23 rushing touchdowns were also tops in school history. The Wildcats haven't had such a productive running back since Trung Candidate was carrying the ball in Tucson.
Carey is a prime candidate to enter the 2014 NFL Draft early if he puts together another strong season for Arizona. He will have to do so without quarterback Matt Scott, and there are areas of his game that need fixing, but his package of skills is enough to get him on the NFL radar.
What he does well
Carey is dangerous in the open field. One he breaks through to the second level of the defense, Carey is tough to bring down due to his agility, vision and wiggle. He has the speed to reach the corner with ease and the aggressive mentality to take advantage of what the defense is giving him. Vision can be a tricky concept to define, but Carey's ability to anticipate and be relentless in the open field helped him put up the insane rushing totals he did as a sophomore.
Some will knock Carey for not being able to break tackles, but he is able to avoid tackles with his body control and quick cuts. But he also has the ability to slip through tackles at times. It's tough for defenders to get a solid hit on him, especially in the open field.
Arizona's rushing machine is not just a one-dimensional back, though. He is also a threat out of the backfield due to his soft hands and ability to make plays in space.
What he needs to improve on
Considering Carey ran for over 1,900 yards last season, it's tough to imagine that he could have had even more. While Carey is one of the best open-field runners in the country, he could improve his play at the line of scrimmage. In the open field, Carey is aggressive, anticipates a hole and attacks it with conviction. He isn't quite as decisive at the line of scrimmage, though. He's a bit hesitant and doesn't seem to trust what he sees.
Carey also has an upright running style which affects his balance. He's needs to add some weight to his frame and run with better pad level. If he does, his power will improve and he will be a more diverse running back.
Ball security and pass protection are two other negatives for Carey. He can't be relied upon to stay in and protect the quarterback and put the ball on the ground too often as a sophomore.
NFL teams are sure to investigate Carey's off-the-field issues, mainly an incident in which he was charged with assault and disorderly conduct in a domestic violence case only to have the charges dropped. Things like that don't disappear completely, and Carey will have to answer questions about it between now and when he decides to enter the NFL.
Carey played his best football towards the end of his sophomore season, and the flaws listed above seemed to be occurring less frequently in his final few games. This offseason is a big one for Carey. If he comes back stronger and with added weight on his frame, he will be a different back in 2013. Carey may not be as productive for Arizona next season, but he has the upside to become a coveted NFL Draft prospect.