14 June 2008
| Antoine Caldwell - #59 - OL/Center - 6-3 - 292 lbs - Montgomery, AL - Lee HS - 3 Varsity Letters
Antoine is perhaps Alabama’s most important player outside of the QB position. Not only is he the current starting center, but he is a possible backup at the other 4 positions on the line, and likely the only real option for a backup for Andre Smith at left tackle. A player that is capable of playing all 5 positions on the line of scrimmage is very rare, and Antoine is capable of playing all of them at a very high level.
There was some doubt over the winter as to whether or not Antoine would even be around for his senior season. A definite NFL prospect, he already has his degree from the University. And then there was the mid-season hiccup where he missed 4 games due to suspension for the misuse of textbooks. Some folks thought that combining his NFL potential with the facts that he already had his degree and he was, some felt, wrongfully suspended would lead to him wanting to leave.
Antoine is too committed to this team for that to happen. Despite missing 4 games in the heart of the season, Antoine was elected as a permanent captain for the 2007 team. The fact that he still commanded that level of respect from his teammates is astounding and speaks volumes about the type of leader that he is.
: Look for Antoine to be front and center in everything involving Alabama football in 2008. He will almost certainly be a 2-time permanent captain, though hopefully his name will be spelled correctly in the concrete at Denny Chimes this time. Given his experience, his prominence on the team, and his ability as a public speaker, you will likely see him any time there are reporters given access to players – see the recent Fox Sports “Under the Lights” program as an example of that.
Though he is capable of playing any of the 5 positions on the line, I expect that, barring injuries, center is where he will spend most of his time. Center is his likely NFL position, and Nick Saban understands the importance of having players drafted into the league. He was recently named to the Rimington Trophy (given to College football’s best Center) Watch List for the 2nd consecutive year, and stands a great chance of being a finalist this season. He’ll likely battle Arkansas’ Jonathan Luigis for All-SEC & All-American marks, and again at next spring’s NFL combine for the top player at position ranking.