Arizona Football

Greatest Arizona Wildcats defensive, offensive players embraced Saturday

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Ricky Hunley, left, congratulates and provides encouragement to Ka'Deem Carey after Carey's first touchdown run against Oregon last Saturday (ABC-TV video capture)

Ricky Hunley, left, congratulates and provides encouragement to Ka’Deem Carey after Carey’s first touchdown run against Oregon last Saturday (ABC-TV video capture)

In my Bleacher Report article last week I touched on where junior running back Ka’Deem Carey will rank among the Arizona Wildcats greatest athletes.

I place him third behind Sean Elliott and Annika Sorenstam. Of course, Carey’s standing among the Arizona Wildcats greats can change one way or the other based on his performance at the next level.

Ka'Deem Carey

Ka’Deem Carey

Ricky Hunley

Ricky Hunley

When ranking only Arizona Wildcats football, no question that Ka’Deem Carey is the best offensive player in the program’s history and the greatest defensive player is career-tackles leader Ricky Hunley.

A special moment was caught on film Saturday when Hunley embraced Carey after Carey’s first of four touchdown runs against Oregon in the Arizona Wildcats’ 42-16 upset victory last Saturday. The ABC/ESPN broadcasting crew and staff did not recognize Hunley. Otherwise, the moment would certainly have been highlighted and discussed.

How often does a school’s best offensive and defensive players in history have an opportunity to share a moment like that?

After addressing the Wildcats following a practice in August before the season, Hunley told TucsonCitizen.com reporter Anthony Gimino: “Ka’Deem, that’s a man. He’s not going to be here long. You better use him up”.

Hunley, a linebacker, is the highest NFL draft choice in Arizona Wildcats history, selected as the No. 7 pick overall in 1984 by Cincinnati.

Before Saturday’s game, Carey was projected as a second- or third-round pick if he leaves the Wildcats after his junior season. NFL draft analyst Rob Rang of CBSSports.com noted Saturday that Carey showed “first-round form” in Saturday’s performance against Oregon (206 yards on 48 carries).

Four Arizona Wildcats players on the offensive side of the ball have been drafted in the first round, including tailback Trung Canidate, whose career rushing mark at Arizona was broken by Carey on Saturday. Canidate was the 31st pick overall taken by the St. Louis Rams in 2000.

Another running back, Walter Ring, was chosen as the 10th pick overall by the New York Giants in 1939.

The other offensive players chosen were Bill Lueck, guard, Green Bay Packers (26th pick in 1968) and John Fina, tackle, Buffalo Bills (27th pick in 1991).

Carey and Hunley have their name atop significant marks in the Arizona Wildcats record book. Even if Carey leaves after this season and is picked in the second round, he is still the best offensive player to wear the Arizona uniform given his record-breaking performance.

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ARIZONA CAREER TACKLES LEADERS

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ARIZONA CAREER RUSHING LEADERS

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WILDABOUTAZCATS.net publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report, Lindy’s College Sports and TucsonCitizen.com.

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