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View Full Version : Future Chiefs WR, please?


DaKCMan AP
11-21-2007, 09:39 AM
I would love to get Caldwell to place on the other side of Bowe. I think they would complement each other well. Caldwell is a burner who can stretch the field, but is not afraid to catch crossing patterns across the middle. We'll see how the combine goes but if he's available from late round 2 - round 4 I'd take him.

He's better than his brother Reche. Actually, one summer instead of staying in Gainesville and doing the regular strength and conditioning program he went out to San Diego to train with his brother and the Chargers.

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Born Ready
By JENNA MARINA , Alligator Staff Writer

A single pair of blue and silver Nike shoes lies untouched in the corner of a bonus room on the second story of a Tampa home.

They rest on top of a Gators slot machine with remains of dirt and turf still stuck in its cleats.

They belong to UF wide receiver Andre Caldwell, who wore the shoes in the 2003 Army All-American Bowl playing for the East team with future Gators teammate Chris Leak.

Caldwell is nearly five years removed from the game, but the phrases he etched in permanent marker on the shoes still hold true for the fifth-year senior.

The right shoe reads "#1 AC The Truth" on the outer side, and "Bubba" on the inside.

On the left shoe, "#1 Untouchable" spreads across the outer side while "AC The Truth" is featured on the inside.

"I feel like I'm untouchable when I'm on the field," Caldwell said. "Nobody can stop me. And I wrote "the truth" just cause I'm the real deal out there. Ain't no jokes or no gimmicks. It's all business. This is what I was born to do."

BUBBA IS BORN

His birth certificate reads Andre Jerome Caldwell, but thanks to his older brother, Reche, he will forever be known as "Bubba."

Caldwell's mother Deborah said her younger son was a bit on the rotund side until he turned 7. Reche thought the name Bubba just seemed to fit the persona of a chubby child, so it stuck.

The notion that Caldwell would enjoy a life rooted in sports seemed as natural to his family as his nickname. He ran track and played both basketball and baseball growing up before he ultimately decided to focus on football.

His talent and skill didn't remain a secret for long.

Alex Medina, a childhood friend of Caldwell's, said he and Caldwell ate lunch together every day in high school, and at the start of their junior year the craze surrounding Caldwell began to swell.

Representatives from UF, Miami and Southern Cal would visit Jefferson High just to eat lunch with the pair.

"I always knew he was good, but I never knew he would be as big as he was," Medina said. "Bubba handled it real well. He wanted to be like a regular kid. He didn't take it to the head like that."

When the recruiters visted his home, they always peeked at the trophy room that now hosts Caldwell's shoes. At the time, the room was filled with Reche's accolades from his career at UF.

When Florida State coach Bobby Bowden and USC coach Pete Carroll took one look at the Gator-filled room, the same question inevitably popped up.

"They'd say, 'Miss Deborah, do we really have a chance?'" Caldwell's mother recalls.

Turns out they didn't, as the No. 1 receiver in the nation declared on ESPN that he was headed to Gainesville.

Despite his early success in high school, Caldwell remained a dreamer.

He created a list of goals his freshman season and still adds to it every year. After his 13-reception performance against Florida Atlantic last week, he can check off UF's all-time reception leader, but a 1,000-yard season and the Heisman Trophy still remain.

"The dreams I write down are hard to reach," Caldwell said. "I try to break records not by a little bit, but by a lot. I don't want to be just average. I want to be a great player."

Even though Heisman hype currently surrounds a different Gator, Caldwell seems just as happy for his teammate.

"He's got my vote," Caldwell said of Tim Tebow following the South Carolina game.

Caldwell often credits his high aspirations to the relationship he shares with his mother. Deborah works for the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice and deals with troubled teenagers on a daily basis, most of whom never grew up in a stable family setting.

She shares stories with her son constantly about the children she works with in an effort to push him to excel.

"We don't let the brakes up off Andre," Deborah said. "I call him five, 10 times a day. 'Bubba, how you doing?' You have to stay involved. If I can't give it to him, if his dad can't give it to him, if Reche can't give it to him, he doesn't need it."

WILD THING

Though Caldwell's parents always stressed the importance of leading a respectful life, they never stifled their son's penchant for fun.

The balance between the two is evident in his room back home in Tampa.

Photos of Caldwell and Reche in their high school football uniforms are atop his nightstand, and a figurine shaped in the form of two brothers sits on a shelf above his television. The younger child holds a basketball as he gazes up at the elder, who has his arm firmly wrapped around his younger brother.

Caldwell's mother paid $55 for the object 18 years ago, but she couldn't pass it up.

"My sister asked for it, and I said 'no, that's Andre and Reche,'" Deborah said.

But the real inspiration for his room channeled Caldwell's wild side.

His mother decked out the room with animal print wallpaper and statues of wild animals. Two panthers lie at the foot of his bed, and a small monkey sits in the corner.

"I told her after I saw it, this fits me perfect," Caldwell said. "This is my castle. I'm the king of this jungle here."

This taste runs through all aspects of his life.

Amid his Polo shirts and 30 pairs of unworn Nike shoes, his closet features old-school jerseys of Miami's Dan Marino, Pittsburgh's Terry Bradshaw and San Francisco's Jerry Rice.

Last Sunday, he and Medina hit the outlet malls in Orlando after a night at club Roxy to celebrate Caldwell's record-breaking game.

"He loves to shop," Medina said with a laugh.

He walks off the team bus on game day carting his Louis Vuitton bag, and yet, despite the flashy style and designer bags, his teammates don't rag on him.

"I'm like, where did you get that from?" fellow wide receiver Louis Murphy said "He's like boy, you ain't got this. He'll joke, 'You can't get this.'"

But behind all the bravado, Caldwell remains down-to-earth, keeping his teammates' best interests at heart.

"A lot of times he has a serious face on, so people think he's mean or something, but he's one of the goofiest persons I've ever met in my life," wide receiver Percy Harvin said. "You could wake up and be in the terriblest mood, and he'll find a way to make you laugh."

Trajedy and Triumph

For as much as Caldwell is responsible for lifting his teammates' spirits, he's had to work just as hard at keeping his own intact.

His first test came during the Gators' home victory against Tennessee in 2005.

Caldwell started out strong, scoring UF's only touchdown on an 18-yard-run in the first quarter.

Then came the start of the second half, when he received the kickoff on the goal line and returned it 21 yards before Tennessee linebacker Ryan Karl's helmet crashed into his right thigh. The devastating hit shattered Caldwell's femur and ended his junior season.

His mother watched the hit on television.

"I was freaking out. I just can't say no more," Deborah said. "The phone started ringing. Reche was calling, and he was like, 'Andre broke his leg.' My husband started calling me, 'Bubba is in a lot a lot of pain. It's not looking good.'"

She decided to drive to Gainesville and kept imagining her son lying in the hospital bed with his leg hanging in traction, just like she used to see in the movies.

"I didn't want to see Andre like that," she said. "But I kept telling myself, you got to be strong for yourself and Andre. When I went in the there I was hugging him. He was really quiet. I said, 'You're going to overcome it.' He was like, 'yeah, yeah, yeah.'"

The hit turned out to break more than Caldwell's femur. It broke his heart.

"He withdrew himself from really the program, from the football team," UF wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales said. "He lost about 20 pounds. He looked like he was sick.

"He was a major player in the program, and next thing you know, they're telling you you might not ever play again."

Caldwell did everything the doctors instructed him to do and entered the 2006 season with high expectations.

However, when he finally took the field, he looked tentative, and Caldwell said it wasn't until UF's 21-14 win against Georgia on Oct. 28 that he really felt comfortable again.

He caught eight passes for a season-high 88 yards and one touchdown, and rushed five times for 28 yards. Prior to the Georgia game, Caldwell averaged three receptions for 30 yards per game.

"I hadn't been hit in like a year," Caldwell said. "It took a couple games for me to get used to people diving at my leg, trying to take them out. Going into that game I was very confident, and Coach could feel a different step in my game."

Caldwell finished the season as UF's second-leading receiver and ended it with fireworks, scoring a touchdown in the national championship game.

Many expected him to follow the exodus of players who decided to enter the NFL Draft early. Caldwell was projected to go in the third round, but that just wouldn't satisfy him. So, after seeking advice from Reche, Andre decided to return for one more year of college football.

"The plan was coming out of high school, do three years and get out of this place," Caldwell said. "After being here for all these years, it's like my second home, and it's all I know right now. I'm happy with the decision."

The Gators were happy to have him back. With only 14 seniors returning, Caldwell has played a crucial role as one of the leaders on the team.

Although he usually took a backseat to vocal leaders like Dallas Baker and Jemalle Cornelius in the past, Caldwell knew it was time to embrace his role.

At a team gathering at UF coach Urban Meyer's home two weeks before this season started, he gave an unexpected speech at Meyer's request.

"Bubba's not really one to like be all that vocal," linebacker Dustin Doe said. "But when he gave that testimony, it was kind of like he was free-styling ... and by him doing that everybody was on the same page. He was being real, but he was being poetic at the same time."

Caldwell asked for every one of his teammates to jump on the bus with him for his last year as a Gator.

"He's going to give everything he has, and he wanted us to give everything we had," Murphy said. "He's a good leader, and we don't want to let him down because he goes so hard. He works so hard to be who he is."

The fifth-year senior looked primed to have a spectacular final season after his performance in the season opener. He tallied three receptions for 103 yards.

But then it happened again Caldwell sprained his knee in the second game of the season against Troy.

When his family first saw him go down, they held their breath fearing the worst but exhaled when they saw Caldwell walk off the field.

His parents returned to their home relatively confident their son would be fine. Then, the phone rang on Sunday.

"When we talked to Coach Gonzales and Coach Meyer, you would have thought they were going to a funeral," Deborah said.

He missed two weeks with the injury, started against Auburn but didn't record a reception and caught one pass during the LSU game the week after. Still, he was determined to finish the year stronger than ever.

"I planned to have a great year, and to go down so early in the year, it was devastating," Caldwell said. "But like I told my momma, it's like a blessing in disguise. It made me realize, when I come back I got to be hungry and sacrifice whatever I can to get better everyday. And I'm doing that."

The past three games Caldwell has churned out consecutive career-high performances. He recorded more than 100 yards each game and logged his best game to date against Florida Atlantic with a career-high 13 receptions for a career-high 164 yards.

For his last game in The Swamp, Caldwell already has his perfect ending planned out. It would include a 150-yard game topped off with his final catch in the end zone, so he could throw the ball into the orange and blue crowd and really be remembered.

Whatever the outcome, Caldwell will undoubtedly be remembered by his teammates for the impact had on their lives.

"That's a man that's willing to put forth his career for this football team, and that's all that's ever mattered to him," Gonzales said. "So to see these records come up right here, right now within his reach, it's fantastic for him. But at the same time, he'd trade everything in to continue to be a great leader and a great role model for these young kids."

http://www.alligator.org/articles/2007/11/21/sports/football/caldwell.txt

Short Leash Hootie
11-21-2007, 09:49 AM
BUST LIKE HIS BIG BROTHER

DaKCMan AP
11-21-2007, 09:50 AM
BUST LIKE HIS BIG BROTHER

Thanks for that in depth analysis, Nostradamus. Actually, with your record, Andre Caldwell will probably become the next Jerry Rice.

Sanka
11-21-2007, 09:51 AM
Florida offensive players(with the exception of Fred Taylor, Emmit (Over-rated) Smith, and I'll give you Darrell Jackson) = BUST

Short Leash Hootie
11-21-2007, 09:53 AM
Thanks for that in depth analysis, Nostradamus. Actually, with your record, Andre Caldwell will probably become the next Jerry Rice.
what does my record include?

Saying Huard should start the season for the Chiefs? I still think that was the right call.

Or saying Priest won't get 20 carries? Sure, he got 20 carries...but from the looks of it he shouldn't have been on the field considering his friggin' neck was re-injured in two games.

Either way, once 'Lil Caldwell gets his money he'll 'relax' just like his big brother and be a big time BUST in the NFL!!! Yeeeah! Go Caldwells!

Lonewolf Ed
11-21-2007, 10:00 AM
what does my record include?

Saying Huard should start the season for the Chiefs? I still think that was the right call.

Or saying Priest won't get 20 carries? Sure, he got 20 carries...but from the looks of it he shouldn't have been on the field considering his friggin' neck was re-injured in two games.

Either way, once 'Lil Caldwell gets his money he'll 'relax' just like his big brother and be a big time BUST in the NFL!!! Yeeeah! Go Caldwells!

I see... Priest needed to have 20 *really good* carries. I should read into things more, I really should.

John_Wayne
11-21-2007, 10:01 AM
Two Words: JORDY NELSON

DaKCMan AP
11-21-2007, 10:07 AM
Florida offensive players(with the exception of Fred Taylor, Emmit (Over-rated) Smith, and I'll give you Darrell Jackson) = BUST

The skill position offensive players to have gone in the first 3 rounds in the last 10 years have been

TE Erron Kinney (3rd)
WR Darrell Jackson (3rd)
WR Travis Taylor (1st)
WR Reche Caldwell (2nd)
WR Jabar Gaffney (2nd)
WR Taylor Jacobs (2nd)
TE Ben Troupe (2nd)
WR Chad Jackson (2nd)
QB Rex Grossman (1st)

Kinney and Troupe have been solid in Tennessee. Taylor, Caldwell and Gaffney all left school too early (especially Gaffney). Taylor's been the absolute biggest bust. Additionally, they're all from the Spurrier system.

Chad Jackson (IMO the most talented of all the above players) also left school too early , but he's been good when in action. In his rookie year he caught 3TDs before tearing his ACL in the AFC Championship game. This year he was on PUP until 2 weeks ago and is behind Randy Moss, Dante Stallworth and Wes Welker. Kind of tough to break that lineup.

Bubba Caldwell made the wise choice to stay in school and he's really matured. He's a WR first and foremost, but he can also return kicks which would free up a roster spot that's been given to Eddie Drummond, Dante Hall, Tamarick Vanover forever.

Now, for the 2009 draft Percy Harvin will be the most gifted offensive player to ever come out of Florida.

Short Leash Hootie
11-21-2007, 10:12 AM
TE Erron Kinney (3rd)
WR Darrell Jackson (3rd)
WR Travis Taylor (1st)
WR Reche Caldwell (2nd)
WR Jabar Gaffney (2nd)
WR Taylor Jacobs (2nd)
TE Ben Troupe (2nd)
WR Chad Jackson (2nd)
QB Rex Grossman (1st)

YOU SOLD ME!!!! LET'S DRAFT BUBBA! THIS IS A SOLID GROUP OF SKILL PLAYERS!

ROFL ROFL ROFL

DaKCMan AP
11-21-2007, 10:15 AM
YOU SOLD ME!!!! LET'S DRAFT BUBBA! THIS IS A SOLID GROUP OF SKILL PLAYERS!

ROFL ROFL ROFL

Yeah, because what some players from the same school under different coaches and systems directly determines how all players will do.

Don't forget about some old-time Florida guys like Wes Chandler, Nat Moore and Cris Collinsworth. Some pretty good WRs.

Short Leash Hootie
11-21-2007, 10:16 AM
WE NEED TO MOVE UP IN THE DRAFT TO GET THIS GUY!!! HE'S CAN'T MISS! HE'S THE NEXT RAGHIB ISMAIL!

Bowser
11-21-2007, 10:17 AM
Two Words: JORDY NELSON

I'd be happy with this. The trouble is, do you take him in the second, because I don't think he'll be around when we draft in the third.

DaKCMan AP
11-21-2007, 10:18 AM
WE NEED TO MOVE UP IN THE DRAFT TO GET THIS GUY!!! HE'S CAN'T MISS! HE'S THE NEXT RAGHIB ISMAIL!

LMAO You have to be the biggest retard on this forum. Josh Reed, Michael Clayton and Devery Henderson were top WRs taken out of LSU. I guess we shouldn't have drafted Bowe based upon their performance, right?

Plus I said late 2nd to 4th round based upon his combine performance, idiot.

John_Wayne
11-21-2007, 10:20 AM
I'd be happy with this. The trouble is, do you take him in the second, because I don't think he'll be around when we draft in the third. YES, draft him in the 2nd. He's the next :Lin:Ed McCaffery in my view.

Short Leash Hootie
11-21-2007, 10:20 AM
WE NEED TO DRAFT HIM IN THE FIRST ROUND!!! WE COULD BE GETTING THE NEXT TAYLOR JACOBS! HE'S STILL IN THE NFL, RIGHT?!

John_Wayne
11-21-2007, 10:23 AM
Bowe, Nelson, Kennison (yes, 3rd WR) Webb, HANNON would make a nice WR corps.

DaKCMan AP
11-21-2007, 10:23 AM
According to Hootie, the Lions shouldn't have drafted Calvin Johnson based upon the performance of Dez White.