Teondray Caldwell has generated some excitement during his time at WSU by making some explosive plays as a running back and kick returner. Let's get to know him a little better.
Name - Teondray Caldwell
Position - Running Back / Kick Returner
Year - Junior
Height/Weight - 5'8", 198 pounds
Hometown - Los Angeles, CA
Things to know:
1. Not with the Pack - Caldwell initially signed a letter of intent with Nevada in 2011 after finishing his high school career at Venice High School in Los Angeles as a 3-star running back. For undisclosed reasons, Caldwell never played for the Wolf Pack. WSU running backs coach Jim Mastro was the running backs coach at Nevada when Caldwell was being recruited and is likely the point of contact that landed Caldwell in Pullman. Mastro left Nevada for a season to coach at UCLA. Caldwell committed to WSU within weeks of Mastro being hired by WSU.
2. The buddy system - Caldwell is both a former high school teammate and close personal friend to WSU receiver Gabe Marks. Both Caldwell and Marks committed together to WSU in 2012 as part of Mike Leach and staff's first recruiting class. You can hear Caldwell talk about his friendship with Marks in this video:
3. Valuable early contributor - Caldwell made a big splash on special teams as a true freshman in 2012. He returned 27 kicks for 675 yards (25.0 avg.) and received honorable mention All-Pac-12 for his efforts. He also made three starts at running back and carried for 269 yards on 56 carries in 2012. Rickey Galvin shouldered the majority of kick returns for the Cougs in 2013, but Caldwell still returned 15 kickoffs for 343 yards (22.9 avg.). As a running back, Caldwell rushed for 271 yards on a compact 50 carries in 2013.
4. Costly mistake - Caldwell's lowest moment on the field came at the end of the New Mexico Bowl when he fumbled a kick return that set up the winning field goal for Colorado State. Caldwell's fumble was the "Bill Buckner moment" of the the New Mexico Bowl loss. A chain of team mistakes led to Caldwell being in position to seal the Cougs fate by turning over the football in CSU territory just seconds ahead of the game being extended to overtime.
5. 2014? It is very difficult to predict what sort of numbers Caldwell will put up for the Cougs this season on offense or special teams. He finds himself in stiff competition for reps at running back with Marcus Mason, Jamal Morrow, and Theron West. Caldwell is proof of the strides that the Cougs have made in recruiting to the running back position. An instant contributor in his freshman year on a team with little depth, Caldwell still finds himself as a junior in competition with new and old faces for playing time. An explosive runner that has a low center of gravity, Caldwell is a valuable athlete-type weapon that the Cougs will have at their disposal for the next two years.