With two days to spare before the underclassman deadline to declare for the NFL draft, Ka'Deem Carey has officially played his last game at Arizona.
Sources told Yahoo Sports on Monday that Carey will forego his senior season and the Wildcats made it official later in the afternoon.
"I'm excited for the next phase of my career and to enter the NFL draft," Carey, who ran for 1,885 yards and 19 touchdowns this season, said in a statement. "I want to thank God, my family, coach (Rich) Rodriguez, coach (Calvin) Magee and all of my coaches for everything they've done for me. My time playing football for Arizona will always be very special to me and I want to thank the fans and the Tucson community for supporting me throughout my career. The future of Arizona football is bright."
Carey finished his three-year career in Tucson as the program's all-time leading rusher. A two-time consensus All-American and 2013 Pac-12 Conference offensive player of the year, he collected 4,232 rushing yards - the seventh-best total in league history.
The 5-10, 207-pounder owns or shares 26 single-game, season and career school records. That includes a single-season mark of 1,929 rushing yards and 23 rushing touchdowns in 2012, when he led the nation in rushing.
"Ka'Deem Carey was a great player for us," Rodriguez said in a statement. "We wish him all the best as he pursues his professional career."
The news comes after weeks of waiting on an announcement. But what may have helped him make the decision was the second-round grade on his NFL draft evaluation.
According to Yahoo Sports, at least two teams considered him a "first-round talent."
While there may be some collective cheers around the other 11 football offices in the Pac-12, the Wildcats now have the task of replacing Carey.
Jared Baker is the most experienced returning player but he will miss all of spring camp to rehabilitate an ACL injury. In the spring, the Wildcats will have Pierre Cormier, Zach Green, Myles Smith and early enrollee Jonathan Haden.
The competition in the fall will include 2014 commit Nick Wilson.
"I think we have a lot of potential that people outside of our program don't know about," Cormier said in mid-December.
"I thought it was a good thing for me to redshirt this year, sit back and watch the best running back in the country do what he does best."
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1" align="left" />Click Here to view this Link.Tracy McDannald
GOAZCATS.com Senior Editor