TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona All-America running back Ka'Deem Carey will forgo his final season of college eligibility and enter the NFL draft.
Carey revealed his decision in an announcement issued by the university on Monday, two days ahead of the deadline to make the declaration.
The hard-hitting running back led the nation in rushing and was Pac-12 offensive player the year. Last season, despite missing the opener because of a suspension, he gained 1,885 yards, averaging 5.4 yards per carry. His average of 157.1 yards per game ranked second nationally.
Carey leaves as the university's all-time leading rusher with 4,332 yards, ranking him seventh on the Pac-12 career list. He owns or shares 26 Arizona single-game, season and career records. When he rushed for 169 yards in the Wildcats' victory over Boston College in the AdvoCare V100 Bowl, he broke Dennis Northcutt's school record for all-purpose yards.
Carey gained at least 100 yards in each of his final 16 games, the longest such streak in conference history and the longest for any major-college player in the last decade.
'I'm excited to enter the next phase of my career," Carey said in the university's statement. "I want to thank God, my family, coach (Rich) Rodriquez, coach (offensive coordinator Calvin) Magee and all of my coaches for everything they have done for me."
Carey said his "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."
He added the Arizona trademark "Bear Down."
Carey was a workhorse for the Wildcats, leading the nation last season with just over 29 carries per game.
"Ka'Deem Carey was a great player for us," Rodriguez said. "We wish him all the best as he pursues his professional career."
Carey was suspended for last season's opener against Northern Arizona for off-field problems, one involving a fight with his ex-girlfriend and another when he was kicked out of an Arizona basketball game.
Carey apologized for the behavior.
At the time, Rodriguez called Carey "a good guy who made a couple of bad decisions."