By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Thunder and Lightning, Power and Speed or even The Odd Couple could be nicknames for the pair of Millington products participating in this weekend’s Tennessee vs. Kentucky Future Stars All-Star games.
The thunder and power of the duo is Tony Graves Jr. An incoming eighth grader at Millington Middle School, Graves has played with older kids on the gridiron as part of the defensive and offensive lines.
Reggie Caldwell Jr. provides the lightning and speed as an incoming freshmen next school year at the wide receiver and cornerback positions.
Caldwell played for Tennessee last year and witnessed the eighth graders from the Volunteer State lose an early lead to their counterparts from the Bluegrass State.
“For me it’s a chance to make up for what happened last year to the eighth graders,” he said. “Tennessee started off OK. Then they just lost it. The final score was 42-24.”
Caldwell will be on the eighth grade squad this year. Meanwhile Graves will play on the line for the Tennessee seventh graders.
“It feels good they see that potential in me,” Graves said. “I get to play the game I love.”
The son of Tony Sr. and Susan Graves has been playing the game he loves since the fifth grade for the Millington Trojans SYS. The younger Graves has been a combination of power and intelligence on the line of scrimmage all those years.
“I like the way I hit the QB sometimes,” he acknowledged. “I got noticed because how I hit people out there on the field and for how I block. It’s important I make my running backs look good.”
As teammates some of those years, Caldwell has benefited from Graves and the others on the line. Caldwell is explosive and elusive once he obtains the football.
“Because the scouts saw what I can do on the field,” he said, “when people come see me play, they see a performance.”
The son of Reggie Sr. and Shovkia Caldwell said he loves the offensive side of the ball. But he works hard on defense to also catch the ball.
Back in April, Caldwell and Graves attended the Memphis tryouts for the All-Star team. Nearly 500 players participated in the tryouts across the State with the Millington duo making the cut.
Graves, 5’8 and more than 250 pounds, still has another year before he reaches the high school ranks. Also a talented pitcher on the diamond, he said he plans to play both sports in high school.
Caldwell is also a multiple sport standout in basketball, track and football. He might let hoops go once he enters high school to focus more on football and track.
For now Caldwell is happy to be playing in his second Tennessee vs. Kentucky All-Star game. He hopes it is a springboard to more success down the road.
“I hope I can continue to do what I’ve been doing and be more productive,” he said. “ I see myself as a D-I player — maybe at Florida.”
Graves also has Division I aspirations with another Southeastern Conference school in mind.
“I want to go out and demolish everybody,” he said. “I hope this leads to me playing at Alabama where I really want to go.”
The Future Stars Game will be played Saturday at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville with the seventh grade game kicking off at noon. The eighth grade game follows 30 minutes later. For more information or to catch the live stream on Youtube.com, visit www.tennesseefuturestars.com