LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Ka’Deem Carey has finally met his match — the Tower of Terror ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
“I’m not going anywhere near that,” Carey said laughing. “No sir. I don’t do roller coasters.”
Carey arrived at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn on Wednesday night in advance of tonight’s Home Depot College Football Awards Show, where the winner of the Doak Walker Award, handed out to the nation’s top running back, will be announced.
Carey is a finalist, along with Boston College’s Andre Williams and Washington’s Bishop Sankey.
The night begins a hectic stretch for Carey, who will be a busy man over the next month.
Among the items on the agenda for the All-America running back are tonight’s award show, the AdvoCare V100 Bowl on Dec. 31, finals at the UA next week and of course deciding whether or not to enter his name in May’s NFL draft.
Carey told the Star he has submitted paperwork to the NFL draft advisory board to see where he would possibly be picked if he entered. The results will certainly impact his decision.
“First round, second round, that’s comfortable stuff you can’t pass up,” Carey said. “Anything after that, I think you have to get your degree. Right now there’s a lot of things boiling in the pot affecting my decision.”
The running back, who rushed for 1,716 yards and 17 touchdowns in 11 games this season, said he will consult with coach Rich Rodriguez, running backs coach Calvin Magee and his mom, Tisha, the most about his decision.
“I’ve started to think about it, but I won’t give it serious, serious thought until after our bowl game,” Carey said. “Until then, honestly, I’m trying to not even think about it too much.”
Carey wasn’t named a finalist for the Heisman Trophy earlier this week, news that could impact his decision to return.
Carey brought his familiar smile with him to Disney World and enjoyed chatting with reporters from all over the country. He said the Heisman snub is similar to the one he received last year, when he wasn’t named a finalist for the Doak Walker Award despite leading the nation in rushing.
“You get over it,” Carey said. “It’s the underdog thing I’m used to. Being snubbed from the Heisman, I feel the same way I did last year. So do I come back and try to achieve that and get invited to New York like I got invited here? I don’t know yet.”
As far as consolation prizes go, the Doak Walker Award would certainly be an impressive one.
Today, Carey will try to become the first UA offensive skill player to ever win a major national award. Darryll Lewis (1990) and Antoine Cason (2007) both won the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation’s top defensive back. Rob Waldrop, in 1993, won the Outland Trophy, given to the nation’s top interior lineman and Steve McLaughlin won the Lou Groza Award in 1994 as the nation’s top kicker.
“It means a lot to be here and would mean even more if I can win it,” said Carey, who was named a first-team All-American by the USA Today on Wednesday. “It just means that my hard work has paid off over the years.”
To win it, Carey will have to beat out Williams and Sankey. Williams rushed for 2,102 yards and 17 touchdowns this season and Sankey totaled 1,775 yards and 18 scores.
Williams, who was named one of six finalists for the Heisman on Monday, will face off against Carey in the AdvoCare Bowl later this month. The two met each other for the first time Wednesday. Carey, wearing a white UA golf shirt, posed with Williams, who was sporting a maroon Boston College shirt; the two shook hands like a couple of prizefighters.
“There’s a lot I can learn from him and a lot he can learn from me and it’s just going to be great to be around him,” Williams said. “I was excited when it was announced we were going up against each other and I had a feeling we were going to play Arizona because of that matchup.
“I think it’s going to be a great game.”
Of course, Carey has one thing working in his favor that Williams doesn’t know about. The UA standout last visited Orlando in 2005 as a member of the Marana Broncos. The Pop Warner team won a national championship and Carey got to experience Disney World for the only other time in his life.
“Every time I come here, I win,” Carey said. “When I left last time, I didn’t even know what the Doak Walker was. Now, to come back for it — hopefully I can keep the winning streak going in Orlando.”
Carey made sure he brought his mom, who was with him in 2005, to Disney World again this time.
Tisha Carey traveled separately from her son, but got to give him a hug in the hotel lobby after he met with his reporters.
“It’s crazy that we are back here and it’s for football again,” Tisha said. “Ka’Deem did so great last time he was here and I would love to see him win this award this time. It would mean so much to him.”