During his career at Langham Creek High School in Houston, Texas, Steven Sarubbi was very successful. He was highly decorated and made a number of important kicks as he led his team into the playoffs. However, he wasn't as highly recruited as you might expect of a kicker with his outstanding statistics and numerous accolades in high school. A recruiter from the University of California stumbled across Sarubbi and referred him to a fellow coach at Cal Poly - San Luis Obispo. Cal Poly, in turn, offered Sarubbi a full scholarship and he departed Texas for the Central Coast of California.
However, things didn't work out for Sarubbi at Cal Poly. His grades slumped as he redshirted in the Fall of 1999. He decided it was in his best interest to leave Cal Poly and do what he could in order to move on to the Division I-A level. He chose to stay on the Central Coast and enroll at nearby Allan Hancock College, a 30-minute drive from San Luis Obispo. Essentially, Sarubbi showed up as an unrecruited kicker on a team that had three highly touted freshman kickers from the area on the team.
The competition was fierce between the four kickers and in the beginning of the season Sarubbi saw little if any playing time. As time wore on, two of the four kickers decided to concentrate solely on soccer at Hancock (one of which, Isaac Torres, went on to be a two-time WSC Player of the Year in soccer).
As the season went on, Sarubbi began to improve and show what he was capable of. Unfortunately, a head-on auto collision while driving back to San Luis Obispo following a game set Sarubbi back slightly. Miraculously, he wasn't injured badly. A slight leg injury was the extent of his injuries. He was back on the field the next week ready to go.
As his freshman season wound down, things were looking up for Sarubbi. In the Bulldogs' WSC Bowl victory over College of the Canyons, Sarubbi kicked a field goal and three extra points as the Bulldogs won by four points. The season definitlely ended on an up note.
Going into this season, no one on the Hanock coaching staff knew whether or not Sarubbi was planning to return to the team. He hadn't practiced with the team during the off-season and hadn't decided himself whether or not to play another season at Hancock. However, at the last minute Sarubbi decided to return for his sophomore season. He made his decision so late that his name wasn't even on the Bulldogs' roster on opening day.
As it worked out, Sarubbi (6-3, 185) was going to kick field goals and fellow sophomore Ian Ur was going to kick-off. It appeared to be a great plan in the Bulldogs' first game against El Camino as Sarubbi made all of his kicks and Ur's kickoffs went high and deep, several for touchbacks. Unfortunately for Ur, he suffered a broken leg in the game as he tackled El Camino's Alvin Marshall on a kick-off return, ending Ur's season early. Sarubbi was now the Bulldogs' man for field goals and kick-offs. This was Sarubbi's chance and he made the most of it. Did he ever!
During the course of the season, Sarubbi broke the Hancock record for the most field goals in one season with 17 (out of 20 attempts). He converted 38 of 41 extra points as well. He tied the Hancock record by kicking a 49 yard field goal. He also added field goals of 48, 47, and 45 yards.
Thus far he has been called by Northwestern, Oklahoma and Arizona, all of which are looking to scholarship a kicker. He can transfer mid-year and spend the entire Spring training at the university to which he commits.
According to Allan Hancock head coach Kris Dutra, "He is a big time prospect. He's automatic from inside of 40 yards."
It appears that Sarubbi will have a chance to be Mr. Automatic for a major university next Fall.