FNL: Gators Land Kicker

It took an All-SEC performance before Urban Meyer finally offered Chris Hetland a scholarship. Now, he's got one locked up for the next four years. St. Augustine (Fla.) kicker Caleb Sturgis became the fifth committed member of Florida ‘s class of 2008 after giving his word to Meyer during Friday Night Lights.

"I got the offer about a month and a half ago," Caleb Sturgis said. "A few weeks ago, I visited Georgia Tech and a couple of the other schools. Finally over the last couple of days when my parents got back from a trip in Canada, I decided that Florida was the place for me, and I decided last night that it would be a good time to commit."

With so many kids turning out for Friday Night Lights, Sturgis didn't have a chance to show his stuff, but he kicked in front of Meyer and the staff during the kicking camp on June 7. Sturgis's offer reinforces Meyer's commitment to special teams.

"[Meyer's] told me that he does the special teams and he really wants to have good special teams," Sturgis said. "It's obviously a big commitment from them. It's a huge honor for me. Everyone in the nation wants to go to Florida, and to think they've sacrificed a scholarship for me makes me feel pretty good."

Sturgis has quite a leg with range all the way out to 60 yards. He also said on a good day, he can usually knock it through the uprights from 70 yards out. During his junior season, he hit 8-of-16 field goals, but six of his misses came from more than 56 yards out. He only missed two extra points, but they were due to bad snaps.

When Sturgis arrives on campus, there will be some familiar faces around, mainly running back Brandon James who was a teammate of Sturgis's when he was a sophomore.

"It was my first year playing football," he said. "I was a little scared back then because he was a real big deal. I've talked to him a little bit when I've been on campus, and I think he really likes it there."

Sturgis grew up a Gator fan. His mother graduated from UF and his father is a fan, but he never had the chance to make it to Gainesville on game day until last season.

"I've always had a soccer game, so my first time was when they gave me tickets last year," he said. "It was pretty neat."

"The end of football overlaps with the start of soccer. I was a little worried about it during my sophomore year, but when I was junior, that's when I decided that I really wanted to be a football player, so I didn't really worry about it."

Sturgis sticks mostly to place kicking, but will try to punt this fall. He doesn't look to do it at UF, but he said it doesn't hurt to try.

"It will be pretty new to me," he said. "I've done it a little bit in practice just messing around. It's just to help the team out this year. I don't have any plans to do it in college. Florida's got Chaz Henry and he's real good, but it never hurts to be a backup."

For now, the recruiting process is done for Sturgis, but he hasn't completely ruled out making more trips in the fall.

"It all depends on how the Florida kickers are doing at the time," he said. "During the season, if it really looks like it will be the best place for me, which I really believe it is, I won't waste other school's money. I wouldn't mind taken some free trips, though."

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