LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Like most Arizona football fans, Tisha Carey, the mother of UA All-America running back Ka’Deem Carey, is curious if No. 25 will return to Tucson for his senior season or enter the NFL draft.
And like everyone else who roots for the guys in cardinal and navy, Tisha would like to see her son be a Wildcat for one more season.
“He calls me and asks me what I think, and I’ve told him I’d like him to stay for another year,” Tisha Carey said. “But he has to do what makes him the happiest and what’s best for him.”
Her gut feeling a couple weeks ago was that her son was facing a tough decision, and the NFL would be difficult to pass up.
That changed this week.
Tisha traveled to Disney World on Wednesday and watched her son finish as a runner-up to Boston College’s Andre Williams in the Doak Walker Award voting on Thursday.
Combine that with Carey’s being left out as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy and the fact that he’s a year from graduating, and she’s starting rethink things.
“It was already tough, but now him not getting that invite to New York may have sealed it for him to come back,” Tisha said. “That’s one of Ka’Deem’s dreams, and he goes after his dreams. So now I think he may fight another year for it.”
The only thing that seems certain about Carey’s dilemma at this point is that no decision has been made.
The junior submitted paperwork to the NFL’s draft advisory board this week. Carey indicated to the Star that if he’s projected as a first- or second-round selection, he’d likely pursue leaving early.
But after watching Williams win the Doak Walker, he said he still had some “unfinished business” in college.
After he gets his paperwork back and plays in the AdvoCare V100 Bowl on Dec. 31 with his teammates, Carey will get serious about his decision.
Like Tisha Carey, Arizona running backs coach Calvin Magee traveled to Florida to be with Carey for the Doak Walker presentation and said he’ll give Carey the best advice he can once all the research is done.
“Coach (Rich Rodriguez) and I will advise him on what’s best for him,” said Magee, who played five years in the NFL and has coached college running backs for 17 seasons. “We feel like we’re going to be pretty decent next year. Naturally, we think we can be really good if we have Ka’Deem back. But we’re going to be fair and talk to him about the right things and make sure he makes the right decision for him and his family.”
Most NFL draft websites have Carey has a projected top-50 pick, which would put him somewhere in the first two rounds.
Carey has several things working in his favor. At 5 feet 10 inches and 207 pounds, he’s big enough to play in the NFL. While he lacks breakaway speed, most scouts think he’s fast enough for the next level.
Carey has also proved to be durable: His 29.27 carries per game are most in the nation. He hasn’t missed a game because of injury the past two years.
Combine all that with the statistical production Carey has had the past two years, and there’s a lot for NFL teams to like.
Carey, named a Walter Camp first-team All-American on Thursday, is trying to repeat as a consensus first-team All-American this season. He has rushed for 3,645 yards the past two seasons, which is the 10th-most ever by an FBS back over a two-year span. He has room to move up on that list with a solid performance in Arizona’s bowl game.
But then there’s the whole underrated thing that could pull Carey back for a final season. Tisha said her son loves proving people wrong and knows he would like to get the last laugh with the Heisman and Doak Walker voters.
“Of course not being a (Heisman) finalist, that meant a lot to me,” Ka’Deem Carey said. “I expect it because I’m from Tucson. I’ve been underrated all my life and continue to be so.”