Sunday, 25 August 2013

40 Players in 40 Days: Number 5 Ka'Deem Carey

Bruce Yeung - Yeung Photography
In my post about a month ago about ASU safety Alden Darby I talked about how sometimes a defender can make a perfect play and get beat by an even better offensive play. Today, I finally get to cover the other side of that play with the best tailback in college football. After a somewhat pedestrian freshman season, this player broke out in a big way and led the Pac-12 in touchdowns and the nation in rushing yards. the next player is without a doubt the best runner on the west coast. The fifth best player in the Pac-12 is Arizona junior running back Ka'Deem Carey. Here is a full run down of the first 35 players on the countdown:

40. WR Chris Harper, Cal
39. OLB/S Dion Bailey, USC
38. S Alden Darby, Arizona State
37. OT Tyler Johnstone, Oregon
36. DE Chidera Uzo-Diribe, Colorado
35. S Deon Bucannon, Washington State
34. LB Shaq Thompson, Washington
33. DE Taylor Hart, Oregon
32. DT DeAndre Coleman, Cal
31. CB Terrance Mitchell, Oregon
30. C Hroniss Grassu, Oregon
29. DL Henry Anderson, Stanford
28. QB Kevin Hogan, Stanford
27. LB Carl Bradford, Arizona State
26. RB Storm Woods, Oregon State
25. QB Taylor Kelly, Arizona State
24. DL Cassius Marsh, UCLA
23. S Ed Reynolds, Stanford
22. OT Jeremiah Poutasi, Utah
21. TE Colt Lyerla, Oregon
20. RB Bishop Sankey, Washington
19. DT Leonard Williams, USC 
18. WR Brandin Cooks, Oregon State 
17. OL Xavier Su'a-Filo, UCLA
16. OLB/DL Trent Murphy, Stanford
15. OL David Yankey, Stanford
14. TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington
13. LB Shayne Skov, Stanford
12. DE Scott Crichton, Oregon State
11. RB Marion Grice, Arizona State
10. LB Eric Kendricks, UCLA
9. DE/OLB Morgan Breslin, USC
8. CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon
7. RB/WR De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon
6. QB Brett Hundley, UCLA
There are dynamic runners, and then there are players like Carey. No other player in college football possesses Carey's combination of strength, speed, balance, agility, and vision. There are simply no holes in his game. All that dynamic ability was enough for Carey to outrun all other tailbacks in the nation with 1929 yards. he was explosive in the red zone, in short yardage situations, and long yardage situations. He kept Arizona ahead of the chains by averaging seven yards per carry on first downs. He also got better as games went along as he averaged 4.94 yards per carry in the 1st quarter, 5.81 in the 2nd, 8.54 in the 3rd (best in college football), and 6.69 in the 4th. Carey accounted for 92 first downs (3rd most in CFB) and 24 total touchdowns (5th). 

Carey rushed for over 100 yards and at least one touchdown in every game but three. One of those three games was when he ran for 71 yards and a score in the first half against South Carolina State before being rested after recess so you might as well bring the number down to two. He also got stronger as the season went along when he had his four most productive games in Arizona's final four contests. He rushed for 366 yards and five TDs (not a typo) against Colorado, 204 against Utah, and 172 against both Arizona St. and Nevada. You might say, "Those aren't great defenses, I'm not that impressed" and that's fine but don't you dare say he didn't show up against top teams. Carey torched Stanford's vaunted defense that gave up the fifth fewest rushing yards in the nation for 132 yards and three touchdowns. In terms of facing other top 30 run defenses, Carey had 204 against number 23 Utah, and 115 against number 28 Oregon State.

So his numbers are mind blowing and that's great but numbers can be boring. You know what's not boring? Watching Ka'Deem Carey run. Luckily for you I have some film of the Pac-12's premier tailback for you to drool over:

You can see his speed, strength, and balance on the first play of the clip. He beats a defender at the line of scrimmage who had an angle on him with his speed, runs through the safety without even lowering his shoulder, and maintains his balance after the contact as he doesn't even alter his stride or lose any speed as he runs for one of his nationally best 23 runs of 20+ yards. If you just watched his stride and didn't see him take on that contact you would think he was never even touched. At 0:57 you can see Carey's vision and ability to break plays outside. Arizona runs a power play designed to go up the middle but the hole never forms. Carey finds a cutback lane to left and makes a beautiful quick cut and shows his strength again as he shakes of a tackler and turns no gain into 25 yards like only he can.

Carey also displays a great understanding of angles on his one yard score at 1:52. he gets forced to the outside again and he out runs three different defenders but instead of heading for the pylon like most tailbacks would, he reads a seam between his blocker and the backside pursuit and cuts it up field for the touchdown. What I particularly love about him and he shows this throughout the film above is that he doesn't waste time getting up field. he reads his blocks and the defenders angles in a nano-second and makes one cut up field. despite all his ability, he doesn't try to bounce outside for a big play on every snap and he doesn't waste time reversing field or putting himself in a compromising situation trying to create a big play. he just takes what the defense gives him. When he takes that space, he makes people miss effortlessly and when the defense gives him an inch, he takes a mile.

Carey doesn't necessarily have ideal size but he is hardly a dwarf. He has a positive impact on the passing game as well as he picks up the blitz pretty well and is a solid receiver. There are no holes whatsoever in his game on the field. he puts everything on the table and takes nothing off it. The only real concern over Carey is his attitude and the signs he has shown of an inflated ego. He was charged with misdemeanor assault and disorderly conduct stemming from an altercation with his ex-girlfriend and mother of his children (the charges have been dropped and Carey is back together with his girlfriend) and was ejected from a Wildcats basketball game in January for unruly behavior.

However, Carey has been saying all the right things this off-season and appears to be a changed man. Back on the field in 2013, Carey seems to have a great chance to equal his production from last year. The 'Cats face a very weak non-conference schedule and avoid Stanford on the out of division draw. With All-Conference QB Matt Scott in the NFL and premier receiver Austin Hill on the shelf for the season with a torn ACL, Arizona is likely to lean on Carey even more. Carey has the talent but doesn't possess the body of a top RB draft prospect like Adrian Peterson or Trent Richardson but I would be shocked to see him drop out of the first round. Given the short shelf life of NFL tailbacks and the fact that he has a kid to feed, I would be shocked to see him stay in Tucson beyond this season.

We don't have much time left to see Carey in the Pac-12 but what a ride it has been. No returning tailback in college football can boast the numbers he has and few can match his talent. There's one more skill position player left on this countdown ahead of Carey but if I had to build an offense around any non-QB in the Pac-12, Carey would be my choice every time.

No comments:

Post a Comment