The Pac-12 is so deep in draft-eligible prospects that the 2014 NFL draft could include 10 first-rounders from the league.
Here's the roll call: USC receiver Marqise Lee, UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr, Oregon corner Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, USC defensive end Morgan Breslin, Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Oregon back De'Anthony Thomas, Stanford guard David Yankey, Oregon State defensive end Scott Crichton and Stanford safety Ed Reynolds.
And Arizona tailback Ka'Deem Carey.
Some of the early mock drafts have Carey as a late first-round choice; most of that is based purely on his 1,929 sophomore rushing yards. He has yet to be put under anybody's microscope or develop a national following and reputation.
Five running backs were selected in Round 2 of last week's draft (none in the first round), and Carey compares favorably with all. He most closely rivals North Carolina's Giovani Bernard, No. 37 overall, who, like Carey, is a "small back" at 5 feet 8 inches and 200 pounds. Carey is listed at 5-10, 198. The other four second-round selections are all listed at 214 or heavier.
Of those in the NFL, Carey's size and style compares closely to Denver's Knowshon Moreno, 5-11, 200, who was the Broncos' first-round choice four years ago.
Here's what the scouts will say about Carey: He's a north-south runner who keeps two hands on the ball and wants the ball in the clutch. He's not worried about contact and plays with courage. He has a low center of gravity, keeps his legs driving to gain extra yards and has a superb vertical burst with decisive moves. He'll drop his shoulders and deliver a hit. He lacks an explosive second gear, but over 25 yards is fast enough. He's compact and has good musculature. He is an excellent and versatile receiver with good field vision and instincts.
Unless Carey gets hurt in his junior season, he will be a better prospect entering the '14 draft than those bigger backs, such as Wisconsin's Montee Ball, Alabama's Eddie Lacy and Michigan State's Le'Veon Bell, all of whom were second-round choices Friday.
Overall, I think Carey compares most to ex-Philadelphia Eagles tailback Brian Westbrook, 5-9, 200, who was a dual rushing-receiving threat of note for nine seasons. Westbrook was a third-round pick from Villanova.
Now comes the hard part: Carey must deliver in 2013 as he did in 2012, stay injury-free and show that he is a man off the field as much as he is on it.
CDO softball team never needs to rebuild; Dorados just reload
CDO opens defense of its state softball championship on Tuesday, and the ability of the Dorados to simply reload is impressive. CDO is 149-18 the last five years, not including this season's 28-4, yet it's almost as if its future is even more promising. Eight non-seniors started CDO's final regular-season game last week, against Salpointe. Here's how the batting order often goes: 1, Heather Knight, sophomore, .463 batting average; 2, Jordyn Binnion, sophomore, .436; 3, Dominique Gonzalez, junior, .455; 4, Samantha Nettling, junior, .415; 6, Makenzie Sullivan, junior, .486; 7, Carli Campbell, freshman, .433. What's more: Freshman pitcher Randi Longville is 12-0. … Rich Rodriguez had five coaches on the road last week, recruiting/evaluating high school players. Among those sophomores the UA is targeting in the Class of 2015: Cienega receiver Terrance Johnson, who caught 11 passes and made more of a mark as a basketball starter, averaging 11.8 points; and Salpointe linebacker Taylor Powell, who had 117 tackles to lead the Lancers. … The Sporting News last week ranked all 125 FBS coaches in order, 1 through 125. Rodriguez was listed at No. 29. He was far behind BYU's Bronco Mendenhall, who was No. 17. That's ridiculous. Mendenhall's 74-29 mark at non-BCS school BYU can't touch Rodriguez's 128-89-2 career record, including two BCS bowl games. … It also ranked Kansas State's Bill Snyder 11th, which is absurd. No coach in college football has done more with less than Snyder the last 20 years. He could be No. 1.
More Short Stuff
City's top prep baseball stars start their title runs Tuesday
When coach Oscar Romero's No. 2 Tucson High Badgers (26-4) open play in the Division I state baseball tournament Tuesday against Sunnyside, pitcher Alex Robles will take an 8-0 record and a .473 batting average into play. On the same day against Catalina Foothills, Sahuaro Cougars coach Mark Chandler, whose Division II team is 24-4, will pitch Alex Verdugo. Verdugo is a similar 8-0, batting exactly .500 with 23 stolen bases. May the best man become Southern Arizona's Player of the Year. … Tucson's all-around prep athlete of the year is as close to a no-brainer as at any time. Sabino junior Matt Bushman caught 41 passes as a football tight end, was a third-team All-Southern Arizona basketball forward, and ended the baseball regular season hitting .438 with eight home runs. How do you beat that? … With all-star tackle Andrew Mike, Bushman was part of the reason football coaches from USC, Alabama and Stanford visited the Sabino campus last week, spending time with Sabercats coach Jay Campos. ASU is so eager to sign Mike that it sent two coaches to Sabino; they spent time with counselors and even the Sabino principal. Campos said Mike was so impressed that he has moved the Sun Devils among the top three schools he is considering. … Michigan, Notre Dame and Arkansas are among the schools scheduled to visit Sabino this week. The Irish will get a further look at Mike and Bushman in June when Sabino's football team will fly to South Bend, Ind., to take part in the Irish's 7-on-7 summer camp. … Ex-UA defensive coordinator Greg Brown, now the secondary coach at Alabama, visited Salpointe Catholic last week. The Crimson Tide continues to recruit Lancer receiver Cameron Denson, who has committed verbally to Arizona. Former UA offensive coordinator Mike Canales, now in a similar position at North Texas, visited Salpointe on Thursday. He offered a full scholarship to Lancers receiver Kaelin Deboskie, who transferred to Salpointe from Colleyville Texas, recently.
Candrea, Cats reach unwanted milestone
By dropping into a last-place tie in the Pac-12 Friday at Oregon State, UA softball coach Mike Candrea has lost 20 games for the first time in his splendid career. To avoid finishing under .500 in conference play for the first time since 1986, the Wildcats will essentially have to win out, which would mean sweeping powerful Arizona State next weekend at Hillenbrand Stadium. … Candrea's future franchise pitching hopeful, San Marino (Calif.) High School's Michelle Floyd, lost three straight games last month and is now 12-4 after opening with six no-hitters. … Former Salpointe baseball standout Jake Hunter is tearing it up at Yale. The junior first baseman had six hits in a doubleheader against Dartmouth last Sunday and finished the year hitting .336. for the Bulldogs. … UA and Salpointe grad Jesse Mermuys is getting a lot of TV time in the NBA playoffs. He sits directly behind Houston Rockets coach Kevin McHale on the bench. Mermuys, who was the last director of basketball operations in the Lute Olson years, is in his first season as assistant coach/director of player development. He spent the last four years as an advance scout for the Denver Nuggets. … No surprise that Arizona's 2009 Sweet 16 assistant basketball coach Mike Dunlap was fired after one season as Charlotte Bobcats head coach. Dunlap, a bit of a mad scientist, doesn't have the demeanor and personality to be a head coach. But he's a terrific No. 2 guy. … I was reading an NBADraft.net profile on a 6-11, 230-pound "stretch four" projected as No. 57 overall this year. Its description fit Grant Jerrett down the line: "Not a finisher … not great footwork … too perimeter oriented. … will have difficulty guarding power forwards and athletic players."
But it wasn't Jerrett, it was Duke senior Ryan Kelly, a three-year starter who averaged 13 points a game and is exactly Jerrett's type in body and style. And Kelly's only No. 57 in this mock draft? Can't be good news for Jerrett.
UA women have real shot at track crown
In pursuit of a national championship, UA track coach Fred Harvey saw his women's team climb to No. 3 in the U.S. Track and Field rankings last week. In recent weeks, UA junior sprinter Shapri Romero has moved up to No. 3 in the 400 meter standings, matching the climb of senior Jen Bergman, to No. 3 overall at 10,000 meters. Senior Brigetta Barrett remains No. 1 in the high jump, senior Georganne Moline is No. 2 in the 400 hurdles and junior Julie Labonté is No. 3 in the shot put. If Romero can join Rincon grad Tamara Pridgett, among others, to get NCAA points in the 4x100 and 4x400 relays, the Wildcats will be a legit contender. … Former UA football coach Dick Tomey, who has been in Arizona for a month, spending time with family and friends in Tucson and in Phoenix, had this to say about Greg Byrne: "Arizona will be lucky to hang onto him. If he goes, it will be to the kind of place you can't turn down." … Byrne last week wisely chopped up the seating area for Zona Zoo at Arizona Stadium. The Zoo had too many seats the last two years, leaving about 2,000 empty per game. Mixing the UA band inside the Zona Zoo is another positive move. The band's location in the south end zone diminished its effect. … Eager to get started in college football, incoming UA freshman QB Anu Solomon plans to begin daily workouts in Tucson as soon as May 19. That'll give him almost 10 weeks to work with future teammates in daily 7-on-7 drills before training camp. … Among my new favorite PGA Tour golfers is James Driscoll, who last weekend donated $9,000 to the Boston bombing victims, $1,000 per birdie even though his paycheck was just $9,396. This week, in New Orleans, Driscoll is doing the same thing. He had six birdies ($6,000) and contributed to the victims fund even though he missed the cut. Driscoll's caddie is ex-UA All-American Andy Barnes, the husband of Erika Hanson Barnes, a senior associate athletic director at Arizona.
My Two Cents
On 2nd look, Pac-12 has no basis for technical on Miller
I had to laugh at the naiveté of Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott in his emails to Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne, as disclosed last week by USA Today.
Scott wanted Sean Miller to show "contrition." That's never going to happen. Scott just doesn't get it.
The coach vs. ref culture in college hoops is such that Miller chose to pay $25,000 rather than act like a scolded schoolboy and get a refund. Miller predictably chose to hold his ground.
The Pac-12 Networks last week aired the UCLA-Arizona tournament semifinal game and for the first time, in context, I saw Miller's sideline behavior when referee Michael Irving called a phantom technical foul.
Miller was in the coaching box. He didn't frantically wave his arms or stomp his feet. It was a non-call.
Arizona should ask Scott to show contrition for his poor handling of the entire mess.