In 2011, Caldwell played in eight games, totaling 61 tackles with 13.5 tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks from his linebacker position.
"I feel like I had a good year," said Caldwell. "I played well and it led to me being able to go to NC State so obviously I'm happy about it."
As with most junior college prospects, Caldwell's recruitment didn't really pick up until the conclusion of his sophomore season. He was receiving heavy attention from several programs, so what stood out about NC State?
"It was the vibe of the coaching staff," Caldwell said. "I connected more with the Wolfpack coaches than anyone else. Also, NC State has a great history that I was familiar with from growing up in South Carolina. Plus, I think there is a possibility of playing early there and that was a factor."
NC State is looking to replace the top four linebackers from 2011. Audie Cole and Dwayne Maddox graduated, Terrell Manning left early for the NFL draft, and returning starter D.J. Green has to sit out the 2012 season due to a violation of NCAA rules.
Caldwell knows that because he is coming in with college experience the Wolfpack coaches are hoping he will be ready to contribute.
"The coaches have told me they want me to come in ready to play and compete," he said. "I know I need to be in shape so I've been working out with my teammates here and doing the workout program the NC State coaches gave me.
"I've already been in the playbook learning the plays. What is helping me is we run a lot of the same schemes here with linebackers blitzing and rushing off the side so the playbooks are similar. I think that will help me come in better prepared."
Capable of playing any of the linebacker positions, Caldwell, who checks in at 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds, feels he will start out at middle linebacker where he will be competing with senior Sterling Lucas. Lucas was actually Caldwell's player host when he was on his official visit to NC State.
"He was a great guy," Caldwell said of Lucas. "He told me about the schemes and let me know what all I would have to do. He gave me a motivational talk... told me how things worked there and what would be expected of me. It was a preview of what will happen. I liked him a lot."
In just a few weeks he will be in Raleigh working out with the Wolfpack.
"Man, I can't wait," said Caldwell. "I plan on leaving for NC state in the second or third week of June. I have some family in South Carolina so I will probably go see them too, but I'm ready. I'm excited to get there."