With Sturgis, Forget Returning The Kickoff

A strong leg, solid work ethic, and commitment to team has St. Augustine kicker Caleb Sturgis on the radar of many southern schools. The junior in only his second year of organized football after focusing on soccer throughout his youth has one of the strongest legs in the nation.

Sturgis is only 8 of 13 thus far on the season, but don’t be too quick to judge. You must first consider the distance of those missed field goals — 47, 51, 57, 57, 59 yards.

Sturgis has hit everything he’s attempted from inside 42 yards. He has also placed 41 of his 51 kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks. He hit 10 of 10 into the end zone for touchbacks in the Yellow Jackets’ 50-0 victory over Menendez. Because of his long soccer background, he can place the ball pretty much wherever it needs to be delivered.

His 47-yard miss against arch-rival Ponte Vedra Nease was perfectly on-line until it seemingly caught a gust of wind that drove it into the crossbar. A review of the game tape on one of his 57-yard attempts showed that it missed by about eight inches.

St. Augustine head coach Joey Wiles is the reigning Florida Dairy Farmers Coach of the Year. St. Augustine kicking coach Dan Mowrey has a first hand knowledge of what it takes to succeed at the position. He was ready to spend time with his family, until he saw Sturgis in his first practice.

Both Wiles and Mowrey know that the Yellow Jackets have something special in Sturgis.

When I was in St. Augustine to tape Brandon James and Jacques Rickerson for the 2006 Gator Country Signee Video last January, Wiles circled a couple of names to keep an eye on. One of those was Caleb Sturgis. Wiles was quick to point out that Sturgis was a budding star with a big league leg.

“Maryland sent a guy down to look at me hitting field goals and he asked if I could hit it off the ground,” Sturgis said. “I’m not sure if the guy was a coach or not, but I hit three 37’s in a row and had an 80 yard kickoff.”

“I receive a letter every week from Florida that breaks down their game,” he added. “It’s one they send to all of the recruits. Duke sent a letter telling me that they’d have three tickets for me and my family to the Florida State game. Alabama offered me an opportunity to see them play Ole Miss. LSU sends E-mails about their players who receive the awards. UCF sent a questionnaire.”

During the Yellow Jackets games the student section chants “Sturgis, Sturgis, Sturgis” before field goals and kickoffs. Obviously, coaches aren’t the only ones who know talent when they see it.

“It’s interesting,” he said laughing. “It was kind of funny the first time I heard it. I think my youth pastor started it, but I’m not sure. I want to be a weapon on kickoffs and help get our team get points every time I go out there for field goal. I’ve been kicking for a year and a half now. Things don’t always go smoothly with the snapper and holder and there have been times that I’ve not hit it as good as I should, but I love the game and hope to get a scholarship offer from a warm weather school.”

Sturgis has a 3.96 weighted grade point average. He hopes to go into either Business or Sports Management.