On a visit to Eugene, former Houston Cougars defensive tackle Ja’Maree Caldwell committed to the Oregon Ducks on Friday over the Texas Longhorns following a reported visit to the Forty Acres last weekend.
Caldwell was an offensive lineman in high school in South Carolina who spent time at Hutchinson CC and Independence CC before landing at Houston in 2022. The 6’1, 325-pounder showed promise in 2022 with 12 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, and two sacks before receiving second-team All-Big 12 recognition this year after emerging as one of the conference’s best defensive tackles, recording 27 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, and one forced fumble. A strong run defender who graded at 82.8 by PFF in 2023, Caldwell also added eight hurries and 18 defensive stops.
The departures of T’Vondre Sweat and Byron Murphy created a need for Texas in the transfer portal at the defensive tackle position and Caldwell seemed like a potential fit after leaving Houston in mid-December, but was slow to emerge as an actual target for the Longhorns, ultimately choosing not to pick Texas after the departure of defensive line coach Bo Davis to LSU.
Missing on Caldwell means the Longhorns might not be able to address the need for a defensive tackle in the transfer portal with classes on the Forty Acres starting on Tuesday, a concerning development since it’s not only hard to find impact players at the position, it’s even harder to find them during the May transfer window.