TUCSON, Ariz. -- Running back Ka'Deem Carey is one of a kind.
The junior became the first player from the University of Arizona to earn conference Offensive Player of the Year honors since the school joined the Pac-10 in 1978.
"He's a phenomenal player," said UA coach Rich Rodriguez. "He gives his best on every play. What he's been doing is phenomenal. He's had a tremendous year."
Carey, who led the nation in rushing last season with 148.4 yards per game, actually has a better average this season at 156.0 yards per game, although he is second to Boston College's Andre Williams (175.2).
Those two figure to battle it out to see who wins the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation's top running back.
Arizona has had seven defensive players win Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year awards, including College Football Hall of Famers Ricky Hunley, Chuck Cecil, Rob Waldrop and Tedy Bruschi. But Carey has now made his case for the best offensive player in school history.
He already holds at least 22 school records. He has not yet given any hints as to whether or not he will enter the NFL Draft after this season.
"He's got at least one more game with us," Rodriguez said, "and I hope he has a whole year."
Carey would have more help on offense next season, with the return of receiver Austin Hill (ACL) and the addition of two touted transfers -- Cayleb Jones from Texas and Davonte' Neal from Notre Dame. That trio, although working with a new quarterback, would ease some of the defensive pressure Carey has seen this season.
He's been the singular focus of every defensive game plan, which makes his production and his consistency all the more amazing. He has rushed for at least 119 yards in 15 consecutive games, dating to last season, and has averaged 170.7 yards in three games against ranked teams -- UCLA, Oregon and Arizona State.
"He's pretty dominant with us," Rodriguez said, "with a lot of young guys around him against pretty good folks."
Arizona finished its regular season at 7-5 overall and 4-5 in the Pac-12. It awaits its bowl destination. UA figures to land in the New Mexico Bowl for the second consecutive season, or it could negotiate with a bowl outside of the Pac-12's affiliations.
Carey doesn't have much left to prove in college, and it's largely presumed he'll jump to the NFL, but nothing is certain yet. He is the school's career leading rusher, and in the bowl game, he is likely to set the Arizona mark for all-purpose yards. Carey is at 5,314, chasing the record of 5,392, set by receiver/returner Dennis Northcutt from 1996 to 1999.