Rice football dropped another close fourth quarter contest, but Prudy Calderon‘s ascension provides a reason for hope in the midst of defeat.
The Rice defense had generated four interceptions entering Saturday’s road contest with Louisiana Tech. Two of those picks came by way of freshman safety Prudy Calderon, who made his first start against FIU. He doubled his career interception mark against Louisiana Tech, picking off two passes, both on the goal line to thwart potential touchdowns.
His four interceptions to date mark one more than the Owls’ interception total as an entire defense in 2017. It’s also more interceptions than seven different FBS teams had so far this season entering Week 11.
The longer he stays on the field, the more takeaways this defense gets. His teammates and his coaches have recognized how well he’s playing and continue to espouse his praises every chance they get. “I’m really proud of what Prudy’s doing,” said head coach Mike Bloomgren, “We’re just scratching the surface of what he’s going to be. And that’s really exciting to me because he’s tackling well, seeing the game well and making those plays that come to him.”
The potential of Calderon is through the roof. His vision in the open field is innate and he’s only going to get better as he refines his game. For him, confidence has always been the biggest hurdle to clear. Once he realized he could hang with the talent on the other side of the field he started making plays — he hasn’t let up yet.
Quarterback Shawn Stankavage, who struggled with turnovers himself on Saturday, noted how important it was for the defense to be playing as well as they were. His first shoutout was handed directly to Calderon — a short but honest evaluation: “Prudy played his butt off.”
Calderon registered two picks and one tackle against Louisiana Tech. He kept this team alive and did all he could to will them to victory. He’ll point to the coaching staff and his teammates for their strong performances on Saturday, but this team doesn’t take Louisiana Tech to the wire without a phenomenal day from the freshman safety, a star in the making.