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09-16-2012, 10:32 PM
Stud will like this...this kid grew up a Clemson fan and is going to play for Carolina

South Carolina typically starts to hit the junior college circuit later in the fall and in the spring but talents like Elliott Caldwell demand quicker attention. Caldwell, a standout third baseman at Spartanburg Methodist, committed to the Gamecocks on Sunday night over offers from Clemson and College of Charleston.

Third baseman/outfielder Elliott Caldwell from his high school days at a Perfect Game event

Caldwell signed and played for one year at Winthrop before deciding to move on. He spent the summer in the Prospect League playing for the Butler Blue Sox and hit .388 with seven home runs, 49 RBIs and 27 stolen bases. He was named the top player in the league by Baseball America.

Caldwell, who stands 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, enrolled at Spartanburg Methodist this fall with big schools coming after him. Florida showed interest and some smaller instate schools but when both Carolina and Clemson offered, he knew he was going to pick between the in-state powerhouses.

A lifelong Clemson fan, Caldwell visited South Carolina last week and met with the entire coaching staff. He visited Clemson over the weekend before departing for a tournament in Charleston with the SMC squad.

On the way back, he stopped by Columbia and toured the campus with Chad Holbrook, Jerry Meyers and Sammy Esposito. After a trip to The Horseshoe, Caldwell broke the news that he would trade in his orange for garnet.

“I sat down with all three coaches and coach Holbrook’s faith really stood out,” Caldwell said. “I want to be surrounded with a coach like that. I’m a really big believer and that stood out to me. I feel like I can trust coach Holbrook. He looked me in the eye when he talked and I felt like he was telling me the truth in everything he said.”

Caldwell had offers from multiple in-state schools out of high school but Winthrop gave him a big scholarship. He didn’t get on the field as much early in the season but started the last five games and tallied a total of seven hits.

In search of a bigger school and the opportunity for playing time, Caldwell departed for Butler, Pennsylvania and “that’s when I kind of blew up,” he said.

Clemson was especially hard to turn down as he grew up just a stone throw away.

“It was very difficult. I’ve been going to Clemson football games as far back as I can remember,” Caldwell said. “There’s nothing I didn’t like about Clemson. I liked coach Leggett and everything was good there, but I just felt more comfortable at South Carolina.”

What made the decision easier is the fact that there have been other players in Caldwell’s situation. Players like Scott Wingo and Michael Roth grew up favoring the Tigers but went on to have successful careers in Columbia.

On the field, Caldwell is known as a hitter. He can hit for both power and average, which he showed over the summer. He was 6-for-8 against the Diamond Devils in a tournament over the weekend with SMC.

“Just being able to hit is one of my biggest assets and being able to play multiple positions,” Caldwell said. “I can play any outfield positions and I play third for SMC right now. I have some arm strength for the outfield.”

Caldwell could be the heir apparent at third base after LB Dantzler graduates this year. He could also easily see time in the outfield. He’s a good runner and was clocked over 90 mph from the outfield in high school. Since then, he’s grown an inch and added 20 pounds.