It was a little more than two years ago when Florida commit Caleb Sturgis stood among several other students who walked onto the football practice field for the first time at St. Augustine High School. He had never played competitively before. And much like the ball as it rockets off his right foot, Sturgis has risen just as fast from anonymous to All-American.
Stugis has been selected as the kicker in the ESPNU All-American Bowl Game. The game featuring the best high school football players in the nation will be broadcast on Saturday, January 5th from Orlando. He is the second Gators’ commit to be named to the squad.
“I was just hoping to win a state championship,” Sturgis recalled of that first day of football. “I didn’t have any idea this would happen. This is a real honor and I’m looking forward to it.”
“It’s over in Orlando, which is a bummer,” he said laughing. “I wish it was out in California. That would great. Seriously, I’m happy though. We report for practice on December 31st and they’re going to take us out for New Year’s Eve. All of our practice sessions will be televised on ESPNU and then we’ll have a skills challenge on Friday that will be televised on ESPN2. The game will be on ABC.”
He is the second family member to receive such an honor. His brother, Nathan was named a Parade High School All-American in soccer. He went on to star at Clemson
St. Augustine High School kicking coach Dan Mowrey was set to retire from coaching two and a half years ago until he went to the school to see who they had coming out in the spring. He told me that the first time he saw Caleb Sturgis kick the football, he knew that he would have to put off his early retirement. Mowrey went home to inform his wife that it would be three more years. He said the ball just jumps off Caleb’s foot like very few. He was envious of Sturgis’ leg strength. Mowrey congratulated Caleb upon learning of the honor.
Sturgis figures to handle the Yellow Jackets punting duties this year. He’ll begin working on that next week when the Jackets open practice on August 6th. He is currently the only kicker name to the ESPNU All-American Bowl team.
“I’ll probably leave Orlando and go to Gainesville,” Sturgis said of his early enrollment. “I told Coach (Greg) Mattison that I could do that and he said that would probably be okay. They’ll have to see just how many scholarships are available at that time and everything, but they said that it should work out.”
He was home schooled until he began at St. Augustine High School, the first in his family to attend public school. He currently carries a 4.04 GPA.
Sturgis also has a little brother who will be stepping out to the St. Augustine practice field. If he’s anything like Caleb, we’ll be learning a lot more about the Sturgis’ family.