Welcome to the 2021 ATX QB Room! A new series where I, Robert Gonsoulin, preview quarterback talent from high schools in the Austin area. Be sure to follow week by week to be ready for what Austin has in store for this season of Texas high school football!
In our second edition, I will be profiling Class of 2022 quarterback Tim Caldwell from Del Valle High School.
After acquiring a 3-6 record in 2020 and having missed the playoffs for four straight seasons, it may seem like everything may be stuck in the gutter for the Del Valle Cardinals. But this season, the stars are aligning. This 6A football program may be emerging into one of the teams contending for a playoff spot in the historically talented District 26, and it can all be done under the team leadership of quarterback Tim Caldwell.
Let's take a step back first. This isn't Caldwell's first rodeo. He's been patiently waiting to be in the spotlight of a Texas high school football team. Before transferring to Del Valle in 2020, Caldwell shared the role of starting quarterback with Ty Pruitt at Cedar Creek High School as a sophomore. There, the two combined for 1600 passing yards and 15 touchdowns. Caldwell only started the last four games of the season, yet their stats were almost even. What made him want to transfer you might ask? When I sat down with him over the phone, Caldwell stated "I've been looking to come to Del Valle for a long time and I saw an opportunity, so I just took it." He added that, along with football, academics played a major role in being the destination where he would end up.
As a junior, Caldwell watched from the sidelines a little bit more, as he suffered a hand injury midway through the season. He only appeared in four games and threw for 214 yards. However, with a new head coach rolling in, the Cardinals are depending on Caldwell to be the quarterback that will lead them back to the playoffs.
Del Valle couldn't ask for any better coach than the one they just hired back in April. Bobby Acosta was named the man for the job, and he's coming from a team that hardly anyone is a stranger to….IMG Academy. That's right, the number one ranked high school football team in the nation in 2020 via MaxPreps. At the athletically prestigious prep-school in Bradenton, Florida, Acosta led his team to an undefeated 8-0 record where many considered them National Champions. Now, he's headed off to the Austin, Texas area with hopes of gaining UIL 6A glory.
When you pair a big-name football coach with a quarterback who's proven he can play the game through his stats, everyone begins to sit on the edge of their seat. Caldwell seems more than ready to learn from Acosta. "He's a great person, on the field and off….He's making really good chemistry, and I'm very excited to play for him. He's a great coach. He's going to bring what he did to IMG over to [Del Valle] for sure." It just so seems that the Cardinals have the ideal quarterback-coach combination they want for 2021.
Finding success, though, will not be easy for Del Valle, as they play in one of the toughest districts in the state. Teams like Lake Travis, Austin, Bowie, and of course, the reigning state champions, Westlake will be posed as challenges. Caldwell is preparing himself and his team hard to be ready for these tougher games. When asked questions about how he will approach these obstacles, he provided answers that consisted of remaining focussed and sticking to putting in the work.
Individually, Caldwell is doing whatever he can to perfect his technique and on-field IQ. "The most important part is really just the defense. Studying the defense….the playbook. Stuff like that, I've really been focusing on," said Caldwell. He is also confident in calling himself a dual-threat quarterback, a skillset that can be very effective in all levels of football.
As for his college recruitment, it hasn't been as smooth-sailing as Caldwell would have liked due to his past injury and previously not getting to play as much. But Caldwell has been doing whatever he can to get in touch with coaches. "All I need is one shot," he insisted. Having looks from Division 1 programs would be great for Caldwell, but right now, he seems to be focused on bettering his team for a great 2021 season in the fall.
Be prepared for Del Valle to make a statement in District 26 this upcoming season, as Tim Caldwell looks to lead the charge.
Tim Caldwell and the Del Valle Cardinals will match up against Austin McNeil in Week One on August 27th at 7:00 PM at the Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex in Austin, Texas.