Andrew Marcum and TJ Caldwell's Connection Has Calumet New Tech On The Road To Success

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Words can't describe Andrew Marcum's value to the Calumet New Tech football team.

Instead, the 5-foot-11, 190-pound senior quarterback just goes about his business and lets his actions on the field do the talking for him.

In his first year as a starter, Marcum has helped the Warriors (7-0) to their best start in program history by completing 69-of-108 (64 percent) for 1,487 yards with 23 touchdowns and just two interceptions.

"The driving force for us is everyone on the team is focused on one thing this year," Marcum said. "That is to do our jobs and to win."

He really established himself as a big-time playmaker in a 52-16 win at Gary West on August 26 by going 16-of-23 for 390 yards with four touchdowns.

"Andrew is a quiet lead-by-example type," said second-year Calumet coach Cody French. "He does everything we ask of him and more and never complains or gets in his own way. He is a great example for our young players to look up to in how to carry yourself when you are having success and to show up every day with the intention and focus of getting better."

Competing on the gridiron since he was nine years old, Marcum has a tight group of people who have pushed him to keep going even when things aren't going so well.

"My inspiration on the field is my mom and dad, my brothers on the field, and the brothers I lost to get this far," Marcum explained. "The guys I look up to on this team are (senior defensive back) Jordan Bradley, (senior linebackers) Demetrius Maynard, David Flores, and (senior defensive lineman) Marcos Garcia because I've been playing with them since sixth grade."

His main target has been junior wide out TJ Caldwell, who hauled in 10 passes for 307 yards with four scores against Gary West.

"TJ is fast and shifty," Marcum said. "He has a special talent and if he keeps taking advantage, he'll be something big."

For the season, the 5-foot-9, 145-pound Caldwell has recorded 34 catches for 928 yards with 16 total touchdowns.

"Andrew is great to be around with," Caldwell said. "He's funny, he's competitive, and he's an all-around great guy. During the summer, we were working out together. I was running routes and he was throwing the ball, so that's' where we encountered that chemistry as well as during summer scrimmages."

Just like Marcum, French believes his talented receiver has a huge upside.

"TJ is a vocal leader that never stops talking," French said. "He encourages his teammates and challenges them throughout practice which makes everyone work harder to get better. He is active in the community and in the school and was a state champion in the indoor long jump last winter. TJ has great leadership qualities that he continues to grow and develop as he dominates in the field during his junior season."

Active on the gridiron since he was eight years old, Caldwell credits his family for his love of the game.

"The person I look up to the most is my receiver coach, Tracy Caldwell, who is also my father," explained Caldwell. "However, my inspiration for playing was when my grandma died. She always was a big spark in my heart, and it keeps me going in the sport when I have doubted.

"My father is also a big inspiration in why I play this sport. He was an (NCAA) D-1 football player for the University of Arkansas and I want to go play D-1 just like he did. I want to have a life like he had, so it inspires me to keep going in this sport because I have a supportive father to help me along the way."

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Although Marcum might not be as outspoken as his other teammates, he has proven to be one of the club's leaders.

"Andrew has been a great contributor and leader for our football program this season," French said "He has taken on the starting quarterback role with pride in the position and has done a great job leading our offense and distributing the ball. He is a gunslinger, and we feel comfortable putting the ball in his hands and trust his ability to make decisions.

"He is a hard-nosed throwback style football player, and he is really fun to coach. He and our quarterback coach, Kory Snow, have done a great job growing and developing Andrew into a great high school quarterback."

Marcum is thankful for the support of his head coach.

"He's impacted us by pushing us harder and to get stronger every day just to get one percent better every day," Marcum added.

French believes Caldwell has all the necessary tools to compete at the next level.

"TJ is one of the most dynamic players I have ever coached," explained French. "He is a true student of the game, and he works hard to perfect his craft and grow and develop as a wide receiver. He has the ability to score every time he touches the ball, and he is a physical and intentional blocker when needed. I believe that TJ has the ability and mindset to be an elite high school player and an impactful player on Saturdays for whatever college is lucky enough to have him when that time comes."

Caldwell has nothing but praise for his boss as well.

"Coach French has impacted me in a big way," Caldwell said. "He's shown me everything that I needed to be that next-level talent guy! He's made me grind harder in the weight room. He's made me focus more in school and also just in life. He's an amazing role model to me and I appreciate it so much. He's also impacted the team by showing that he's loyal to Calumet and cares about every single kid on this team, junior varsity player or not. He's just an amazing coach."

In addition to wanting to achieve an undefeated regular season, the Warriors are also in quest of claiming their second sectional crown and first since 2020.

"Coach French is the reason we have achieved as much as we have this year," Caldwell explained. "Simple enough, he has turned this program all the way around from the jump. He makes us very disciplined and focused on our jobs."

Calumet's next assignment comes this Friday when it hosts River Forest (5-2) at Arrowhead Stadium.

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