Tucson, Ariz., that hotbed of talent with a population of about 524,000, has produced three significant record-breakers for a major sport at Arizona.
Sean Elliott of Cholla High School holds the Arizona Wildcats career scoring mark of 2,555 points in basketball.
Shelley Duncan of Canyon del Oro High School is the Arizona Wildcats’ career home run leader with 55.
Now Ka’Deem Carey, also of CDO, is the Arizona Wildcats’ career leader with 3,913 rushing yards and 45 rushing touchdowns.
Fox college football analyst Eddie George, a Heisman Trophy winner when he played at Ohio State, commented at halftime of the Arizona State-UCLA game that Carey should be in New York City with the finalists for the prestigious award.
He mentioned that with Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M faltering against LSU on Saturday, “it opens it up for everybody, and Ka’Deem Carey is as deserving as anybody.”
NFL Draft expert Rob Rang of CBSSports.com also heaped praise on Carey after the junior All-American’s 206 yards on 48 carries and four touchdowns in the Arizona Wildcats’ 42-16 drubbing of No. 5 Oregon at Arizona Stadium on Saturday.
“While his terrific body of work should provide plenty of evidence that he is one of the few running backs who should warrant first round consideration, the victory over Oregon gives the junior perhaps the perfect send-off for what could be his final game at Arizona Stadium,” Rang writes.
Rang also mentions that Arizona quarterback B.J. Denker, who accounted for 280 yards of offense against Oregon, including 178 passing yards (19-of-22 attempts) and 102 rushing yards (14 rushes), should receive attention from NFL scouts after his performance.
“Denker’s breakout performance certainly will catch the attention of scouts but the superstar in this game was clearly Carey, who galloped 20 yards in the third quarter to break the Wildcats’ all-time rushing record with state rival Arizona State coming up next weekend,” Rang writes.
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With Manziel's rough day & Winston's uncertain situation, time to consider a non-QB Heisman option? Ka'Deem Carey of @ArizonaFBall !
— Coy Wire (@CoyWire) November 24, 2013
#Heisman race=upheaval. Manziel/Petty/Mariota lose. Winston ?marks. McCarron move up? How abt luv for RBs Ka'Deem Carey/Andre Williams?
— Bonnie Bernstein (@BonnieBernstein) November 24, 2013
Time to put #Arizona RB Ka'deem Carey (48 run 206 yds, 4 TD v #Oregon) and #BC RB Andre Williams in #Heisman discussion? #Alwaysdeliver
— Chip Brown (@ChipBrownOB) November 24, 2013
Ka'Deem Carey 10th in career rushing yards (3,913) in Pac-12 history. If he comes back, Charles White's record (6,245) in danger.
— Anthony Gimino (@AGWildcatReport) November 24, 2013
#TeamKaDeem MT @TracyGOAZCATS: Ka'Deem Carey may not be nation's leading rusher, but he may sealed every major RB award with performance
— Arizona Football (@ArizonaFBall) November 24, 2013
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Carey’s performance against Oregon ranks as the best at Arizona Stadium when factoring the records he broke while the Wildcats were dominating No. 5 Oregon. Trung Canidate’s career rushing mark of 3,824 lasted 13 years and Art Luppino’s 44 rushing touchdowns stood as an Arizona Wildcats record for 57 years.
The Wildcats now have five victories over Top 5 teams at Arizona Stadium. The previous four wins: 1980 over No. 2 UCLA, 1986 over No. 4 ASU, 1992 over No. 1 Washington, 2007 over No. 2 Oregon.
In those games, the player who challenges Carey the most for the most impressive performance is Chuck Cecil and his 106-yard return of an interception against the Sun Devils in Arizona’s 34-17 victory.
Antoine Cason had a punt return and interception return for a touchdown against the Ducks in 2007. Josh Miller, a punter, was ABC-TV’s player of the game in Arizona’s 16-3 win over Washington in 1992. Tom Tunnicliffe, only 18 and in his second collegiate start, completed 12 of 18 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns in Arizona’s 23-17 win over UCLA in 1980.
Cecil’s interception return is a record and it contributed to his career-record 21 interceptions at Arizona. Carey gets the nod with two significant records set on one day against a college football powerhouse such as Oregon. Carey also dictated the outcome against Oregon. Cecil contributed to a balanced Arizona execution against the Sun Devils 27 years ago.
Cason, Miller and Tunnicliffe were exceptional but not to the degree of a career record-breaker.
Elliott’s performance against UCLA in 1989 when he broke Lew Alcindor’s Pac-12 scoring record is the finest in McKale Center history. He needed 34 points heading into that game to break the record. He scored 35 with six three-pointers.
Duncan is one of seven Arizona baseball players to hit three home runs in a game. He accomplished that feat against Utah in 2001, the same year he broke Brad Glenn’s school record of 43 career home runs. Duncan hit three home runs in three consecutive at-bats against the Utes, tying the feat held by Arizona Hall of Famer Ron Hassey.
Carey’s historic performance at Arizona Stadium against Oregon comes 46 years after Arizona played its first ranked opponent in 1967. Enjoy what you saw. Who knows if it will take another 46 years or more for something like it to happen again.
ARIZONA TOP 10 CAREER RUSHERS
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.