Despite a very successful 2018 class, the one thing bothering many Texas fans was the Longhorns inability to pull in several targets were offered later in the recruiting cycle. Prospects like Craig Williams and DeShaun White received Texas offers later than they would have liked, and in the end it hurt Texas’ chances of landing both.
Fast forward to now, and it appears Tom Herman and co. are making sure they are not caught in a similar situation. The plan is for Texas to only take 2 or 3 cornerbacks, so the coaching staff needed to make sure they established their targets early and made them feel like a priority. With a commitment from Kenyatta Watson, it appears there may only be 1 or 2 spots remaining. Spring Dekaney‘s Marcus Banks took several unofficial visits to Texas over the past few months, but committed to LSU several days ago. Not wanting to be caught flat footed, Texas maintained a strong relationship with Alvin’s Marques Caldwell, who was committed to Oregon. On May 18, the Longhorns decided to extend an offer to Caldwell. Ultimately, the 3-star prospect chose to stay in-state and flip his commitment to Texas, giving Jason Washington another talented cornerback in the 2019 class.
Caldwell is currently ranked as the 6th best cornerback in the country and the 637th player overall, according the 247sports composite rankings. In addition to Texas and Oregon, Caldwell also held offers from TCU, Missouri, Texas Tech and Ole Miss.
Name: Marques Caldwell
High School: Alvin
City & State: Alvin, Texas
Height: 6’1 (Nike)
Weight: 171 (Nike)
40-yard: 4.5 (Unverified)
Shuttle: 4.30 (Nike)
Vertical: 32″ (Nike)
2016 – 32 Tackles, 1 TFL, 8 PBU, 2 INT
2017 – 17 Tackles, 1 TFL, 1 Sack, 4 PBU, 2 FF, 2 INT
- Shows great anticipation. Consistently jumps routes and puts himself in position to make plays on the ball.
- Displays good hips and uses his length well. Stays with receivers and knows how to utilize leverage to put himself in position to break up passes.
- Caldwell shows good technique at this stage in his development. Gets low is his backpedal and diagnoses plays as they are developing. Advanced feel for the position.
- Plays very physical. Supports the run and fights through blocks to get to the ball carrier. One of the most impressive defensive back prospects I’ve watched this cycle in terms of his willingness to hit.
- Not afraid to move around on the field. Was occasionally used as a blitzer and effectively caused disruption in the opposing backfield.
- His style of play could translate well to special teams. Coaches usually say a guy earns his way on the field through special teams, and Caldwell’s willingness to hit and enjoy contact could allow him to be stable in the 3rd phase of the game.
- At 6’1, Caldwell possesses good size for the position and will allow him to match up well against bigger receivers.
- While Caldwell shows reliability as a tackler, he also has a tendency to lower the shoulder and try to deliver the big hit instead wrapping up.
- Has a tendency to drop his head on tackle attempts and not see what he is hitting. Will need to learn to keep his eyes up in that regard.
- Will likely not be ready to be a day 1 contributor. Will need to pack on about 15 pounds, which he should be able to do during a redshirt year.
- As with a lot of DB’s coming out of high school, Caldwell uses his eyes to help make a lot of plays. College coaching will be a huge benefit to help make him more reactionary and rely on his technique as opposed to peaking in the backfield.
If you turned on Caldwell’s film and didn’t know anything about him, most people would have a tough time believing he is a 3-star. The 6’1, 172 pounder shows ideal cornerback traits, using his quick hips and good length when defending the pass. His technique should translate well to the college game and his ball skills make him someone who can have good interception totals.
Caldwell also plays a physical brand of corner that carries over into how he defends the run and fights through blockers. He is not afraid to lower the shoulder for the big hit. Wide Receivers will have a tough time blocking him because he has proven to be relentless to the football and usually finds a way to get to the ball-carrier.
The most impressive takeaway from watching Caldwell’s film was how football savvy he appeared to be. His football IQ at corner is high and he understands how to play the position. He isn’t just an athlete who was placed at corner.
If Texas does indeed close up shop at corner with Caldwell joining Kenyatta Watson, Longhorn fans should be very pleased, especially after the defensive back haul in the 2018 class. Both corners should have the luxury of learning their first few years on campus before being asked to be major contributors.
Tom Herman continues to show the ability to make tweaks and adjustments with his recruiting strategy. After waiting too long to offer several prospects last cycle, Herman identified a player like Caldwell early enough and offered him before Oregon or another school could negative recruit the Longhorns timing of the offer. The result is another quality player joining the 2019 class and continues to build momentum as the summer months progress.
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