Hot Sheet: 'Dangerous' Ka'Deem drawing buzz as top draft pick

While Ka'Deem Carey and the Cats prepare today to face the team the RB torched for a Pac-12-record 366 rushing yards a year ago, check out the Hot Sheet and get yourself ready for the Buffaloes. Kickoff is at 5 p.m. and you can watch the game on Pac-12 Arizona.

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  • Let’s face it; we’re probably watching the final games of Ka’Deem Carey’s Arizona Wildcats career.

    Carey is eligible to declare for the NFL draft after this season. And while the junior hasn’t said whether he has any intention to do so, it seems pretty likely.

    Carey led the nation in rushing last season with 1,929 yards and is leading the country this year with 160.2 rushing yards per game.

    We checked in with Matt Miller, the lead NFL draft writer for Bleacher Report, to learn more about Carey’s draft prospects.

    Miller has ranked Carey as his third-best draft-eligible running back for 2014, behind Arizona State senior Marion Grice and Baylor junior Lache Seastrunk.

    Here’s what Miller had to say about Carey:

    On his overall evaluation of Carey: “I like Ka’Deem Carey. First off, he’s productive and that’s huge. So many backs have all the skills, but it doesn’t translate into production. He passes the eyeball test in terms of what he gets done on a football field. He’s not the biggest guy, but I think he runs with a lot of power. He can be dangerous in the open field and can make some people miss. He’s almost like a LeSean McCoy (of the Philadelphia Eagles) because he causes so many missed tackles.”

    On his concerns about Carey: “The big one is how well is he going to make people miss tackles at the next level, where everyone is super athletic. The Pac-12 is one thing; the NFL is another. That’s the key thing. Also, what his timed speed is going to be is going to be interesting. He’s not the fastest guy. He runs a little upright, which makes you susceptible to some big hits.”

    On the fact that Carey doesn’t have breakaway speed like other backs: “I think it keeps him down the ladder a little bit. It won’t make him undraftable or anything, but it just won’t make him as appealable as some others like Seastrunk and Grice.”

    On Carey’s draft stock: “I’m currently re-doing my rankings, but I have Grice No. 1, Seastrunk No. 2 and then Carey. I have him in that early second-round range; the top 50 picks. I think it becomes a matter of preference. Do you want a guy like Grice, who is really good in the red zone and can catch the ball? Do you want a guy like Seastrunk who is a burner? Carey is probably more of that prototypical NFL back. Three to four years ago, every NFL team wanted a guy like him. It’s changed a bit since then.”

    On other Arizona prospects that intrigue him: “I’ve got (cornerback) Shaq Richardson as a late-round grade. He could be a fifth, sixth (or) seventh-round pick. He’s got good size and can hit a little bit. He’s the type of guy teams like Seattle, Jacksonville and Kansas City like. He’s a draftable guy. Outside linebacker Marquis Flowers is another guy. I have a late-round grade on him. Those are the types of guys I will check out later in the year.”

  • Date: Nov. 10, 2012

    What went down: A lot of offense. Colorado and Arizona combined for 1,011 yards of total offense, but the Wildcats had the upper hand in that category (574-437) and the final score, winning 56-31 at Arizona Stadium. Ka’Deem Carey set school and Pac-12 records with 366 rushing yards on 25 carries.

    How it read: Greg Hansen marveled at Carey’s big game and what he was able to do against a struggling Colorado defense. He wrote:

    The Pac-12 record stood for such a long time — since Washington State’s Ruben Mayes ran for 357 yards against the Oregon Ducks in 1984 — that Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne, then 14, was a ball boy, standing on the sidelines at Autzen Stadium.

    On Saturday, Arizona chopped up Colorado 56-31, becoming bowl eligible, and Carey went from hometown hero to national radar screen.

    “He was doing a little bit of the Nintendo-weave,” said UA coach Rich Rodriguez.

    Colorado isn’t any good. In fact, it’s worse than that. But you don’t rush for 366 yards against the ’85 Chicago Bears.

    Turning point: The UA actually trailed 10-7 after the first quarter, but outscored Colorado 42-7 over the next 30 minutes and took a 49-17 lead into the fourth quarter. Carey scored three touchdowns during that span.

    Stats that matter: B.J. Denker, in his first career start supported Carey by completing 12 for 14 passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns and added 44 rushing yards on nine carries.

    It’s history: The Wildcats won their next game over Utah before dropping their regular-season finale to Arizona State. The UA went on to beat Nevada in the New Mexico Bowl in December. Colorado lost its final two games and finished winless in Pac-12 play.

  • Connor Brewer is listed as No. 11 on the UA’s official roster. But this week in practice he wore No. 13. Last week, it was No. 7, and the week before that it was No. 6.

    Confused?

    As the scout team quarterback, Brewer wears the number of the opposing team’s starting quarterback. His job is simple throughout the season — to prepare Arizona’s defense for what it’s going to see on Saturday.

    “Connor has been really good because he’s been around a little bit and gives them a good look,” coach Rich Rodriguez said.

    Brewer, a former four-star recruit, transferred to Arizona from Texas before the season. NCAA transfer rules mean he must sit out this season. He will compete for the 2014 starting job when spring drills begin.

    For now, though, he’s content being a scout-team guy.

    “I feel like our scout team has done a really good job of preparing our defense,” Brewer said. “It’s cool to see what we do and how it correlates to game day.”

    Arizona’s offensive scout team could probably compete against some Pac-12 first-teams. Brewer is joined by a pair of transfer wide recievers in Cayleb Jones (Texas) and DaVonte Neal (Notre Dame). Running back Pierre Cormier, a four-star recruit who is redshirting this season, is Brewer’s main back.

    “It’s a lot of fun,” Brewer said. “We’re making some plays on the defense sometimes, but it’s the first-team defense and they do well against us. We’re always competing. When you have those weapons, it’s fun to try to beat the defense.”

  • When you have four conference wins since the start of the 2010 season, you have to do things a little differently. Colorado is selling fun.

    The Buffaloes do “seven quick questions” with each player on their roster in their weekly game notes. Here are our favorite responses:

    Which pro team would you most want to play for? D.D. Goodson: “Houston Texans or a team with Hope Solo.”

    Which musical artist best prepares you for game time? Gus Handler: “Miley Cyrus.”

    What is your most cherished possession? Tyler McCulloch: “My mullet/video game system.”

    What’s your favorite junk food? Jordan Gehrke: “Cake batter ice cream with batters.”

    What movie character do you most identify with? Andre Nichols: “Brain from ‘Pinky and the Brain.’”

    If you could be an assistant to anyone, who would that be? Josh Moten: “Jim Tressel—he perfected the sweater vest.”

    What modern convenience could you live without? Jeremy Irwin: “Cell phone. I suck with them anyway.”

  • Anthony Lopez was standing on the Arizona sideline last week when he saw a player go down with an injury in the first quarter.

    He didn’t see who it was.

    Seconds later, he heard a coach — he’s still not sure who it was — yell, “Lopez, you’re going in.”

    The player down was safety Tra’Mayne Bondurant, and Lopez — a sophomore who was born in West Milford, N.J. — was called on to fill in for one of the UA’s most valuable defensive players.

    “I had no idea it was Tra’Mayne,” Lopez said. “I was watching the play, I just didn’t know it was him. They told me I was going in and I didn’t really get to process anything. I just tried to do the best I could.”

    Lopez, who moved to Gilbert when he was 9, buckled his chinstrap and went in for his first extended action as a member of the Wildcats.

    He played the final three-plus quarters against Utah and will likely start tonight against Colorado while Bondurant recovers from a concussion. Lopez had four tackles against the Utes and expects to be better tonight after working with the first-team defense all week in practice.

    “When I was in the game, I think I was going way too fast and I wasn’t slowing it down,” Lopez said. “I have to slow down and focus on what I’m doing. I just need to do what I was taught and do what my coaches tell me to do.

    “I think I’ll be less nervous now because I was thrown into the fire against Utah.”

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