Kyle Caldwell Continues Sun Devils' Family Legacy

Depending on which ASU fan you asked, today's announcement that Caldwell committed to ASU, may not have been all that surprising.

Nevertheless, the suspense or lack of the defensive end's decision cannot overshadow the tremendous jubilation that the maroon and gold faithful feel on the eve of their team's most crucial recruiting weekend. Today Kyle Caldwell became a second generation Sun Devil, and when it was all was said and done the defensive end exclaimed that there was no place like home.

"Without any hesitation…" Caldwell said as he pulled a white Baseball cap out of a shoebox, "I'll be going to Arizona State University next year!" His announcement was followed by thunderous applause from his friends and family in attendance.

"The key factor was what was the most comfortable for me." Explained Caldwell "On all these trips I had no idea what to expect with the city. Knowing that I know Nebraska wasn't for me, and Oregon wasn't for me, it came down to UCLA and ASU." The defensive end said that he decided his faith immediately after he came from his UCLA visit this past Tuesday. "I just had a gut feeling that I needed to go with it. We did sit down with UCLA to hear some final words, and we realized that this is what we had to be done. This is my home. This is where I belong"

Expanding on the comfort level that ultimately led to his decision, he said, "This is home for me. I want help to bring Arizona State back to what it was when my father played. When there were 70,000 fans sitting in the stands. Going to the Rose Bowl…I want to be part of that, and I feel that with coach Koetter and staff in a year or two years that would be possible." While his desire to stay close to home was crucial in his verbal commitment, he did take a ‘wait and see' attitude before the recruiting process began. "Before the season started we said we wanted to sit down and take a look how they (ASU) improve this year. They had only five seniors in the program, and that (the successful 20020 season) showed a lot. There a young team and what they can be in a year or two...that was a big decision factor."

And then there's the heritage aspect. Second generation players on the same college team are somewhat rare, and Kyle will be one of those. "That's another great thing. To be able to come in and maybe live up to what he (his father Bryan Caldwell) was, and live up to the legacy. It's a true honor to wear number 50. I'm looking forward to that." Another legacy the defensive end may be asked to live up to is to follow in the footsteps of Lombardi Award winner Terrell Suggs, who announced a couple of weeks ago that he's forgoing his senior year at ASU, and entering the NFL draft. Caldwell is just honored to be mentioned in the same sentence as the ex-Sun Devil great. "Terrell Suggs is a great athlete. I don't know if I can be whatever he was. He did amazing things this year. I'm not even gonna compare myself to him. To come in and have a shot at that defensive end position is a honor." Suggs made history as being one of the only true freshmen at ASU to start at defensive end. Caldwell knows that such a feat is quite rare. "In this recruiting process you hear that (promises of playing early) all the time. I didn't weigh that in my decision. To play as a freshman - that's truly amazing. I'm gonna work my hardest, and just getting in the rotation would be a honor for me."

The winner of the Ed Dougherty Award, given to the best Phoenix area high school Football player, can carry extra pressure when playing for the local college in Tempe. However, Caldwell embraces that responsibility. "High school was a great experience. I'm looking forward to moving on. Being the hometown boy at ASU is great. I can't wait to be a Sun Devil, and help this team become something great. I really feel that it will be here shortly." Don't expect this blue chipper to strut on to campus expecting to be treated differently than other first year players. The well-grounded Caldwell says, "I'm looking forward to becoming an incoming freshman. I don't want to be on a high pedestal. I'm looking forward to getting my life back to normal and on track."

Naturally, Caldwell hasn't called the Bruins coaches yet, and that's one phone call that will be hard to make. "I haven't called (UCLA) Coach Bernardi who was my dad's high school coach. The relationship maybe hard to end on a note like this. I'm gonna call them this afternoon, and I guess it's just part of the process. I always try to maintain a good relationship with all the recruiting coaches that recruited me."

On the other hand, coach Koetter called very shortly after the press conference started. Caldwell said that his relationship with the ASU skipper is a positive, but "Hopefully it's better now (smile)." There was no denying that the Sun Devil coaches had a distinct advantage over the other coaching staffs recruiting the defensive star. "ASU being the hometown school had a lot more access to me than other schools. I could go there anytime I wanted, and just talk to them. It was a benefit to me to be able to go down there, and see what kind of people they are off the field. I talked to (ASU's defensive line) coach Monachino about game plan and philosophies. It was definitely a benefit having them in my back yard."

And so one of the most followed recruiting stories ever in the valley of the sun comes to an end. "I'm excited that it's over. We've been looking forward to it being over. We didn't want to drag this along anymore. So this is it right now. I've been getting a little sleep lately, but I'll be sleeping good now." And so will the maroon and gold faithful across the nation tonight…

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