Numbers make it a fairly easy pick. Carey led the nation through 12 games with 1,757 rushing yards, and the sophomore had a rushing average of 6.4 while adding 20 touchdowns for the 7-5 Wildcats. Only Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch surpassed him before the bowl season hits -- Lynch bested Carey by 14 yards thanks to his 160 rushing yards in the Huskies' MAC Championship game.
Sure, schematically Carey had it alright in Rich Rodriguez's offense.
But the sophomore earned respect because the eye test left little doubts that his statistics and success have more to do with his impressive talent than it does with Rodriguez's offense.
More locally in the Pac-12, Carey's place on the All-American list says a lot for a guy who is now considered better than the deep and talented group of backs out west.
That's impressive company.
Carey sits on the first team with Franklin, who statistically is the best running back to play for the Bruins. He's ahead of Ball, the NCAA's all-time leader in rushing touchdowns who is also tied for the most total touchdowns in FBS history. On the third team is one familiar face in Stepfan Taylor of the Pac-12 Champion Stanford Cardinal, and Stefphon Jefferson, the soon-to-be familiar face of the Nevada Wolfpack.
And Carey's spot on the first team list compiled by CBS, again as sophomore, is important because, well, he's a sophomore.
The only other sophomores on the first-team were USC Trojans receiver Marqise Lee, South Carolina end Jadeveon Clowney and Notre Dame defensive tackle Stephon Tuitt. That's the best skill receiver in college football, the former No. 1 overall recruit out of high school who hasn't failed to live up to the hype, and a guy on the No. 1 team in the nation.