Ed Caldwell couldn't pass up an invitation from Colorado offensive line coach Steve Marshall to walk-on in Boulder and possibly earn a scholarship and playing time in the future in the Pac-12 Conference.
"I decided last weekend that I want to take my opportunity and try what I have at Boulder," Caldwell said. "I had a lot of offers from DI-AA and Division II, but I thought if I didn't take this Division I opportunity at CU, I would regret it later in life. I decided that would be the best option."
Caldwell, a 6-foot-6, 280-pound prospect, turned down offers from Northern Colorado and the Colorado School of Mines for a chance to prove himself with the Buffs. He will join the program this summer.
Caldwell said his decision came down to academics as much as football. He wants to be an engineer and passing up a chance to go to the School of Mines wasn't an easy decision, but CU also has a strong engineering program and he might get a chance to play in big time games on the college game's biggest stage.
"I took an unofficial to CU and an official to School of Mines and I kind of want to go to a big college, and just experience the big college atmosphere," Caldwell said.
Caldwell might not be the only walk-on offensive lineman to join the program this year. CU is in need of depth on its line and could use a few more bodies there.
That fact is part of the reason Caldwell ultimately made the choice he did. He sees opportunity.
"The CU coaches told me I would have a good opportunity to earn a scholarship after this year when they have more scholarships available," Caldwell said.
Caldwell lived in Oklahoma until he was 4 and then moved to Highlands Ranch. He said he has simultaneously rooted for Oklahoma State and CU over the years. He is thrilled to have a future playing for one of them.
Caldwell played offensive and defensive tackle as a senior. He earned second-team All-Conference honors in the Continental League, one of the most talent-rich leagues in the state.