Local standout athlete Randy “Deuce” Caldwell is coming off a strong individual season for Mauldin (S.C.) High School as a junior in 2020, when he was named to the South Carolina Football Coaches Association All-State Team for Class 5A.
“It went great,” Caldwell said of his junior campaign. “I led the region in touchdowns. I had seven touchdowns. I came in third in the region with tackles. I had around 40, 48 tackles. 39 were solo.”
Caldwell (6-1, 210) is a versatile athlete who has seen action at multiple positions on both sides of the ball.
“I play some quarterback, running back, wide receiver, safety, linebacker,” Caldwell said. “It just depends. I’m like a hybrid on defense.”
As a prospect in the class of 2022, Caldwell holds several scholarship offers and is attracting attention from a number of other programs. Most of his suitors are recruiting him as a hybrid safety/nickelback.
Ole Miss, Coastal Carolina, Liberty and Old Dominion have offered, while in-state rivals Clemson and South Carolina are showing interest along with schools such as Florida State and Duke.
The Tigers are intrigued by Caldwell, whom they see fitting into the mold of an Isaiah Simmons-type defender.
“They want me to play a role like Isaiah Simmons – a player that can drop back in coverage but can also come down in the box,” Caldwell said.
Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables has recently been in contact with Caldwell, who said Venables had a simple message for him.
“Just stay the course, trust the process – God has a plan, and my time’s going to come,” Caldwell said.
Caldwell has a lot of respect for Venables and knows his son Tyler from playing against him when Tyler was at Daniel High School.
“I feel like he’s a great family person,” Caldwell said of Brent Venables. “I know some of his sons. I know Tyler and I know some people that he hangs around, some kids that are my age, and they tell me nothing but great things. So, I’m just ready to meet him and build a relationship with him.”
Caldwell has had positive conversations pertaining to the Tigers with one of his Mauldin teammates, Jeadyn Lukus, a five-star cornerback and top target for Clemson in the 2022 class.
“I know he really likes it a lot,” Caldwell said of Lukus. “He thinks highly of all the players and talked to me highly about Coach (Mike) Reed and Coach (Mickey) Conn. We’ve known Coach Conn since we were in ninth grade, and we’re just building a relationship more and more.”
Caldwell has visited Clemson a couple of times to participate in the Dabo Swinney Football Camp and came away impressed after his experiences on campus around the coaches and players.
“I actually loved it,” he said. “When I went down there and talked to players, I kind of fell in love with it because it’s a family atmosphere. My family is real close to me and my friends are real close, and it seems like it’s a great family atmosphere and everybody gets along down there.”
Caldwell is taking the recruiting process slowly right now but is looking to make his commitment either this summer or following his senior football season.
What will Caldwell bring to the table for the college team he chooses to suit up for in the future?
“They’ll get a leader, somebody who’s going to give a hundred percent,” he said. “Win or lose, they’re going to get somebody who’s committed to the game and never backs down from a challenge, and they’re going to get somebody who’s hungry and wants to get better day by day.”