Ka'Deem Carey gaining attention, but not enough
Editor’s note: This article has been updated from a previous version to correct Arizona’s record to 7-4.
People should know Ka’Deem Carey’s name by now.
Arizona’s starting running back is rewriting the UA record book, and he’s still not getting as much national attention as he deserves.
After running for a Pac-12 record 366 yards and five touchdowns against Colorado last week, Carey was named the National Player of the Week by the College Football Performance Awards. He also earned Honorable Mention Running Back of the Week from the CFPA for his 204-yard performance in Saturday’s 34-24 win against Utah.
“People know my name,” Carey said on Tuesday after practice. “Not like they haven’t, but they’re starting to say it.”
Not often enough.
On Nov. 9, 10 semi-finalists were announced for the Doak Walker Award, which is annually given to the nation’s best running back.
Alabama’s Trent Richardson won last year.
Here’s the list of the backs included:
- Montee Ball, Wisconsin
- Kenjon Barner, Oregon
- Le’Veon Bell, Michigan State
- Giovani Bernard, North Carolina
- David Fluellen, Toledo
- Johnathan Franklin, UCLA
- Stefphon Jefferson, Nevada
- Venric Mark, Northwestern
- Joseph Randle, Oklahoma State
- Stepfan Taylor, Stanford
Carey is noticeably absent, and there’s really no excuse.
With his ridiculous 570 rushing yards in the last two weeks, Carey catapulted past Jefferson as the nation’s rushing leader.
His 19 touchdowns are tied for third among running backs with Barner, one behind Jefferson and seven behind Lousiana Tech’s Kenneth Dixon, who isn’t a finalist either.
Barner and Franklin are often cited as the top running backs in the Pac-12, but Carey also has nine more touchdowns than Franklin, and Barner had five games of less than 100 yards — Carey had three.
Franklin has been held scoreless in six games, Barner in four and Carey just in one.
Sure, Oregon and UCLA are having better seasons than Arizona.
But, the Wildcats also have the same record as North Carolina, Nevada and Wisconsin, and Michigan State is just 5-6.
MSU’s Bell has 65 more carries than Carey, but 203 fewer yards and nine fewer touchdowns.
UNC’s Bernard gets an impressive 6.8 yards per carry, but on a much smaller sample size, at 157 carries to Carey’s 250.
Head-to-head, Carey has taken on Barner, Fluellen, Franklin, Randle and Taylor, and outperformed all except Franklin.
- In Arizona’s 24-17 win against Toledo in week one, Carey had 147 yards and a touchdown to Fluellen’s 72 and a score.
- In a week two upset against OSU, Carey had 126 yards and three touchdowns, Randle had 123 yards and no scores.
- In a 49-0 blowout loss to Oregon on Sept. 22, Barner and Carey came out about even, as Barner gained 86 yards to Carey’s 79.
- In a tightly contested 54-48 loss to Stanford on Oct. 6, Taylor outgained Carey with 142 yards to 132, but the Arizona back had three touchdowns and Taylor two.
That’s not to say Carey should win the award by any means, I’d probably give it to Ball or Barner, but it doesn’t make much sense that Carey is not even a semifinalist.
The process for selecting the candidates is as follows, according to Phil Steele:
- In October, each Division I-A university is given the opportunity to nominate a candidate.
- Throughout the season, statistical updates are compiled and released to the media and National Selection Committee, which includes sportswriters, television commentators, analysts, radio sports personalities and former All-Americans and NFL All-Pro football players.
- In mid-November, the PricewaterhouseCoopers SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors reviews the achievements of all candidates and votes to select 10 semifinalists for the award.
By virtue of releasing the semifinalists on Nov. 9, a fair assumption would be that the committee made its selection in the days prior.
Carey ran for 366 yards and six touchdowns on Nov. 10, and then 204 more on Nov. 17.
Even before Carey exploded in the last two weeks, he still had 1,015 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns, and was on pace for 1,353 yards and 17 touchdowns excluding a potential bowl game.
Arizona’s communication services had been sending out weekly updates to Doak Walker award voters throughout the season, according to the department’s associate director, and spoke with its staff on Nov. 13 expressing disappointment with the semifinalists list, only to be told that additions wouldn’t be made to the list at this point in the season.
Based on Carey’s stellar performance in recent weeks, maybe the committee should have waited until closer to the end of the season.