Defensive end prospect Kyle Caldwell of Saguaro High in Scottsdale is widely regarded as the No. 1 prep prospect in the state of Arizona for the Class of 2003.
A starter since his sophomore season at defensive end and fullback/tight end, the 6-foot-3, 270-pound Caldwell runs the 40-yard dash in 4.62 seconds. He bench presses 325 pounds and squats 515, and sports an impressive 34” vertical leap.
An All-State performer as a junior, Caldwell piled up 118 tackles, 13 sacks, six pass break ups, four fumble recoveries and three caused fumbles. On offense, he rushed 49 times for 405 yards (8.3 yards per carry) and six touchdowns and caught 19 passes for 180 yards and three TDs.
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“Kyle flies for a guy his size,” said Saguaro head coach Stuart Goldstein. “We also use him at fullback and some tailback.
“He’s truly something special.”
Goldstein isn’t the only one who thinks Caldwell is something special. College coaches do, too.
“I haven’t been home yet,” Caldwell said early Wednesday evening, the first day that college coaches could contact potential prospects by phone, “but my mom said the phone has been ringing off the hook. I think something like 10 coaches have called already. Texas A&M called at 5:30 this morning.”
Caldwell has scholarship offers from Oregon, Arizona, Arizona State, Washington, UCLA, Texas A&M, Notre Dame, USC, Colorado and Colorado State.
He lists Oregon, Washington, Arizona State, Nebraska, Texas and Notre Dame as the schools he is currently considering.
Though he is reluctant to name a favorite at this point, Caldwell says that Oregon, UCLA and Notre Dame are the schools that he is most interested in at this point.
“I really like the coaching staff at Oregon,” he said. “They are great guys, and they are probably the coaches that I know the most about because they have showed me the most interest so far. I also think that I would fit into their scheme well. Their defensive linemen are more like me – real quick and not as big. I just really like the way their whole program is put together.”
He plans to camp at Oregon this summer. Caldwell likes the coaching staffs at UCLA and Notre Dame as well.
“I love the coaches at UCLA,” he remarked. “It’s a great area – the location is excellent, and they have strong academics. They also play on national t.v. a lot, and that definitely doesn’t hurt. Notre Dame has great academics, too, and I’m interested to see how coach (Tyrone) Willingham is going to do there.”
Caldwell’s father, Bryan, was a standout performer at Arizona State from 1978-82 and later played for the Dallas Cowboys. His mother also attended ASU. Could he follow in his parents’ footsteps?
“Arizona State is in my blood,” he said. “I’m definitely still considering them. They had a losing record last year, but I’m anxious to see how they do this year.”
Regardless of what school he chooses, Caldwell has a pretty good idea of what he’s looking for in a college.
“I want to go to a place where there’s a good atmosphere,” he said, “where the players and coaches are like family. I’m also looking for a school with good academics and a winning tradition. I want to find a place where I’m comfortable living for the next four or five years.”
But don’t expect Caldwell to make a decision any time soon.
“I’m going to go through the (recruiting) process and take all my trips. I really won’t know a lot about some of these places until I go there.”
Also a standout in the classroom, Caldwell maintains a 3.0 grade point average, and will take the SAT for the first time on Saturday. He is unsure about what he plans to major in.