We can give Rich Rodriguez all the credit in the world for starting his Arizona Wildcats tenure with two eight-win seasons, but none of that is possible if he didn't inherit possibly the best running back in school history, Ka'Deem Carey.
Adding to Carey's legend at Arizona is the fact that he played high school ball in Tucson, at Canyon Del Oro. CDO won the 2009 State Championship, as the Dorados went undefeated that season. That team also had Jared Tevis and now-Stanford linebacker Blake Martinez was a freshman that season. CDO found itself as the state runner-up in Ka'Deem's senior season, the third State Championship game they made in his four years.
Carey made the short trip south to the University of Arizona in 2011, where he did not start a single game at running back as a true freshman. Maybe that was the problem with that season, as the Wildcats finished with a 4-8 record, and a head coaching change. Carey still almost finished with as many rushing yards as Keola Antolin did (568 to 425).
Over the next two seasons, Ka'Deem would start every game except two for Rich Rodriguez. Those games, of course, were the 2013 opener against NAU and the next game against UNLV. The star running back was suspended for a game and a quarter due to several off-the-field incidents that offseason, including getting thrown out of a basketball game, and an alleged domestic violence incident.
But when Carey returned to the field against UNLV, he put all those off field problems behind him, taking the ball 58 yards for a touchdown on his first carry of the season. And then he never looked back.
After breaking Trung Candidate's single-season rushing record in 2012 (1,929 yards), Ka'Deem took down the career mark for both touchdowns and yards in the massive win over Oregon in Arizona Stadium.
Ka'Deem finished his Arizona career with 4,239 rushing yards, 52 total touchdowns (48 rushing), and maybe more importantly, two bowl game victories.
Rich Rodriguez got this ship righted, but he doesn't do it without Ka'Deem Carey toting the rock.