His outstanding play at Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro and his Sun Devil legacy have made Kyle Caldwell a very sought after high prospect for the maroon and gold. The state's top prep player in 2003 decided to settle on his hometown school and play on the same field and in the same position as his father Bryan did in the school's memorable early 80's seasons. He was even was able to wear the same jersey number (50) as his father, to complete a true sense of Déjà vu for old time Sun Devil fans who got to see father and son harassing ASU's opponent signal callers 20 plus years apart.
"It's an unbelievable feeling," said Kyle Caldwell about his emotions as he prepares for his last ever game at Sun Devil Stadium. "To stay at one school, to have a successful career…I was talking to (fellow senior defensive lineman) Jordan Hill and we were both tripping out. It's going to be an awkward feeling coming up through that tunnel for the last time and I will definitely have butterflies in my stomach Saturday night."
Coming into this week's contest, Caldwell has played 43 games in the maroon and gold. Various nagging injuries caused him to miss just three games, but have certainly hampered his play his freshman and junior year. His sophomore year in 2004 was by far his most successful season, as the defensive end registered seven sacks during that time period and had a total of 28 tackles and four pass breakups. Caldwell came in healthier than ever into his senior campaign, thanks to a rigid, yet effective training martial arts regimen conducted by brother in-law Andy Bauman.
When asked what are some of his fondest memories of playing in Sun Devil stadium, he replied: "There have been all kinds of moments. My sophomore year I had an interception and two sacks against Washington State. But this year as a whole has been one of my best years. To sum up the whole year - the way our D-line has played was the way my health was. It's been a fun thing this whole entire season and it has been be the greatest experience. Right now it's the best I've ever felt and the best season I've had at ASU."
When it came down to decision time on where to sign his letter of intent four years ago, Caldwell narrowed down his choices to Arizona State and UCLA. "It's just an interesting thing to go out on my final game at Sun Devil stadium," he remarked, "and have those two final schools, ASU and UCLA, play each other. But other than that, I'm just excited to go out there on Saturday and hopefully come out and do the things we did last week. If we do that, it will be a good thing for the Sun Devils –that's for sure."
According to the defensive end, the Bruins will present a formidable challenge on offense. "They do a lot of things in the run game," explained Caldwell. "In the passing game, they have a lot play action and roll outs. For a defensive line that can be tricky because you have to be sound on everything and the ends have to be sound in that play action pass game. It's an offense that looks a lot like Oregon State. We had a good practice this week and we should be fine."
The NFL isn't occupying the mind of this outgoing senior, who is likely to be invited to the league's combine in February. "I'm not even concerned about that," claimed Caldwell. "My concern is this Saturday beating UCLA and staying healthy. That's what it's been about and having fun with my teammates."
His sense of joy is also tied into the fact that through out his Sun Devil career; he always had at least a couple of family members on most road games, and a larger contingent in contests played in Tempe. "It's a great feeling, what more could you ask for," he stated. "I'm an Arizona guy raised here my whole life, and having an opportunity to play my last game here at Sun Devil Stadium - what a great way to go out."
And a great way to possibly set the stage for the next Caldwell family member to pester opposing quarterbacks in Sun Devil stadium in the year 2026 or beyond…
Emotionally Charged Game Awaits Caldwell
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