The Tar Heels enter the final weekend of June, a huge one in terms of official visits, and on Friday afternoon they kicked it off by landing a commitment from one of their top remaining defensive targets. Earlier today, 2022 3✮ LB target Deuce Caldwell announced via social media that he was committing to Mack Brown and the Tar Heels following his official visit to campus earlier last week. His commitment is the second that the Tar Heels have received in the last nine days for a Tar Heels 2022 class that appears as if it will see a lot of its targets heading off the board within the next few weeks.
Caldwell, the No. 112 linebacker and No. 17 player in the state of South Carolina in the class of 2022 according to 247Sports, is set to enter his senior season with Mauldin High School in Mauldin, SC following a junior season that saw him play in just six games a year ago in a COVID-shortened fall season. He was still able to rack up 38 total tackles, a number that placed him second on the team, and 4.0 of those tackles went for a loss. Those numbers were enough to earn him plenty of recognition as he was named the AAAAA Region 1 Defensive Player of the Year and landed on the 2020 All-State team. That followed an extremely productive sophomore season where he finished with 59 total tackles, 4.0 tackles for a loss, four interceptions and five pass deflections.
If you just look at the star rating, you may be wondering why Caldwell was valued so highly, but throw on his film and you’ll see why. He is a high motor guy with a nose for the football and he combines that with very solid tackling ability. He has good, but not great speed and will have to add to his frame in the weight room if he wants to stick at linebacker. He does have the sideline-to-sideline ability to thrive at inside linebacker, though, and he is a very solid open field tackler. He also looked good in the limited coverage snaps this past fall, as well, showing fluid hips, something that was more well documented in his sophomore films, as were his ball skills. There is a lot to like about Caldwell’s game even though it may not be as flashy as guys like RaRa Dillworth or Power Echols from this past recruiting class and he looks like a guy that could take a little time to make an impact, but that fits Bateman’s versatile defense very well.
With the commitment, the Tar Heels recruiting class now sits No. 37 in the overall recruiting rankings according to 247Sports. The commitment keeps them 7th in the ACC, though, as the team now eye some other major targets that are closing in on decisions.