TUCSON, Ariz. — In a decision that was expected, Arizona running back Ka’Deem Carey announced Monday that he has declared for the NFL Draft, forgoing his final season of eligibility.
"I’m excited for the next phase of my career and to enter the NFL Draft," said Carey, a former Tucson Canyon del Oro High star. "I want to thank God, my family, Coach (Rich) Rodriguez, Coach (Calvin) 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."
The decision was due by Wednesday, the deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft.
For the last month, Carey, who rushed for 1,885 yards and scored 19 touchdowns in 2013, said he’d wait until Arizona concluded its season and he received word from the NFL Draft Advisory Committee on his expected draft status. Carey said he was hoping "for respect on that paper," referring to his draft grade.
According to Yahoo! Sports, he got it, as at least two NFL teams reportedly had Carey as a first-round selection. He’s widely considered one of the top running backs available and a likely early-round pick after a standout career at Arizona in which he rushed for 4,239 yards and scored 51 touchdowns.
After leading the nation in rushing as a sophomore in 2012 with 1,929 yards, he finished second in per-game average in 2013 with 157.1 yards per game and led the nation in carries per game with 29. He was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year, becoming Arizona’s first player to receive the award, and he became Arizona’s first two-time consensus All-American on offense.
Carey leaves Tucscon as Arizona’s all-time leading rusher, ranking seventh on the Pac-12’s all-time list. He holds or shares 26 school records, including rushing yards in a game (366 against Colorado in 2012) and rushing yards in a season (1,929 in 2012).
"Ka’Deem Carey was a great player for us," Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said. "We wish him all the best as he pursues his professional career."