Player profile: Ka'Deem Carey

There are high expectations for running back Ka'Deem Carey this season. Eead on to see what they are, what his role will be, and more.

Summer workouts have commenced for the Arizona football program, which means the start of the regular season is only three months away.

In the coming weeks, we will profile the most important players to UA's 2012 college football campaign. Under a brand new staff that will incorporate philosophies that were previously foreign to the Wildcats, there are many players who will be counted on to play key roles in the transition.

Our first evaluation is running back Ka'Deem Carey.

Carey entered Arizona last season with high expectations and despite somewhat limited playing time, Carey did very little to temper the excitement surrounding him. He was never the feature back last season, but that is likely to change under Rodriguez.

Carey had a strong freshman season where he finished with 425 yards on the ground to go along with six rushing touchdowns. The back also displayed his skills in the receiving game, catching 15 passes for 203 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

As a sophomore, expect Carey to be featured in Rodriguez's scheme. The new UA lead man has a impressive history with the running game and Carey could be the biggest beneficiary of his offensive approach. In all likelihood, Carey will receive the most rushing attempts and while many others will impact the running game, his speed, size and field vision should elevate him to the top of the running back mountain.

Expect Rodriguez to use Carey in a variety of ways. With his ability to run inside or out as well as catching the ball out of the backfield, Carey could line up at multiple positions in just about every formation Rodriguez goes with. He could line up in the slot and be used as a receiver or he could be put in motion and utilized on the fly sweep.

Carey could also take advantage of the spread while lining up out of the backfield. With his power and ability to borough his way between the tackles, Carey would be a huge mismatch for opposing defenses if they don't stack the middle of the field. Once the opposition catches on and tries to offset Carey's production by stacking the box, he can beat them to the outside.

Rodriguez isn't afraid to be innovative with his offense and with a talent like Carey at his disposal, he could pull out his bag of tricks early. You could see Carey lined up solo in the backfield or with multiple backs. He could be used in the option, traditional running formations, as a receiver, on reverses; the options are limitless with Carey.

If there is one player that has the natural talent to shoulder the offensive load in this system, it is Carey. The Tucson native is not only popular due to his history as one of the greatest high school running backs the state of Arizona has ever witnessed, but he is also viewed as the face of the program by many and gives Wildcat fans something to be excited about with all of the changes that have transpired.

Can Carey become another Steve Slaton for Rodriguez? It's certainly feasible. Carey is a bit bigger and stronger, while Slaton has a slight advantage on Carey in terms of speed; but those factors won't make much of a difference when it comes to getting production out of Carey. Rodriguez has such a grasp on his players and system that there is little doubt he will find a way to turn Carey into one of the elite runners in the Pac-12, if not the nation.

If Arizona experiences a successful season in Rodriguez's first year on campus, it will likely stem from what Carey does on the field. He brings a dynamic to the offense that will make opposing defenses struggle to grasp and if he acclimates himself to the new staff and system, Carey could be the next back that Rodriguez coaches into the elite ranks of college football.

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