St. Augustine place kicker Caleb Sturgis received an offer from University of Florida head football coach Urban Meyer five weeks ago. He considered the Gators offer along with offers from twelve other schools. He accepted Florida’s offer as the defending national champions hosted “Friday Night Lights”.
“It’s very exciting,” Sturgis said. “I’m going to play at the school, I’d wanted to attend all along. Everybody was getting to work and they didn’t have a goal post up, so there really wasn’t anything for me to do. I went up and asked Coach Meyer what he wanted me to do and he said that they had already seen me kick and I was a Gator. I told him then that’s what I wanted to do.”
GatorCountry.com has been covering Sturgis since he was a sophomore. He has one of the strongest legs in prep football and has only kicked competitively for two years, walking out to the Yellow Jackets practice facility for the first time in the spring of 2005. His extensive and successful soccer career has been duly noted.
“I hadn’t heard from Florida in a while and I got a text message from Coach Meyer on June 12th asking if I could be at a kicking camp in a few days,” he recalled. “I did and they offered me then. I pretty much knew, but wanted to be absolutely certain about everything before I committed. I just felt like this (Friday Night Lights) was the right time.”
Sturgis is a phenomenal student with a GPA nearing 4.0. I have heard glowing reports about his exceptional character from several people in St. Augustine. In fact, St. Augustine Coach Joey Wiles told me back then that the Gators and everybody else would be heavily recruiting Sturgis.
His mother, Karen, attended the University of Florida and wasted little time sharing her love for the Gators when I first called the Sturgis home after the Yellow Jackets clinched the state football championship in 2005.
He hit a 53 yard field goal against Flagler Palm Coast in a jamboree game last year. Last season, Sturgis hit 8 of 16 field goals. He missed attempts from 47, 51, 53, 55, 57, 57, 58, and 59 yards. Those attempts were due in part because the Jackets didn’t have a dependable punter on their roster and in part because the strength of Sturgis’ leg affords Wiles the opportunity to put three points on the board.
“It’s frustrating because we weren’t in sync,” Sturgis said at the time. “We had some problems between the snapper, holder, and myself. A few of those I almost hit. I’ll be working hard to get that corrected. If I can hit a few of those they’ll really help the team and put pressure on our opponents.”
Maryland sent a representative to watch Sturgis last spring. He hit three consecutive balls through the uprights from 37 yards with the ball on the ground. He then punched a kickoff 80 yards into the endzone.
The St. Augustine crowd chants, “Sturgis, Sturgis, Sturgis” as he prepares to kickoff. If he reaches his potential, it’s doubtful things will change in Gainesville.