After being advised to quit football, former BOLD lineman is now a Division I recruit
Had he listened to his fifth-grade football coach at BOLD, there's no telling what the future might hold for Jon Caspers. "He told me that I wouldn't do good in football and that I should just quit," said Caspers. "I think that was the fire that ...
Had he listened to his fifth-grade football coach at BOLD, there's no telling what the future might hold for Jon Caspers.
"He told me that I wouldn't do good in football and that I should just quit," said Caspers. "I think that was the fire that really got me going."
Through dedication, hard work and a late growth spurt, Caspers recently signed a national letter of intent to play college football for Division I Iowa State University this fall after spending the last two seasons at North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton.
Caspers will be playing on the offensive line where he spent last season for NDSCS after switching from the defensive line where he played his freshman season. The transition came easy for Caspers. He played two seasons at BOLD on the defensive line, but didn't start playing in the trenches on offense until his senior year. And that season was cut short after he broke both wrists.
He earned All-America status last season at NDSCS, catching the eyes of Iowa State coaches.
Caspers requested that he be red-shirted, unusual for a junior college transfer.
"I want to get a little bit bigger and learn the techniques more on offense," he said. "I've only played offensive line for eight months so I think the extra year will do me a lot of good."
Caspers was a three-sport athlete at BOLD, earning all-conference honors as a pitcher in baseball and he also was a standout wrestler, qualifying for state as a senior.
"He was in a tough bracket and lost to the top-two ranked kids at state," said BOLD wrestling coach Tom Gruhlke. "I think wrestling has given him a lot of confidence for football. He wasn't aggressive or confident until his junior or senior year. He is a kid who has really taken advantage of his opportunities."
Caspers is a poster child for hard work. The fire he talked about that was lit in fifth grade has now become a four-alarm blaze. Caspers was 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds his senior year in high school and now is a massive 6-foot-6 and 295 pounds.
"I think that the growth spurt I had really helped," said Caspers. "But I changed my diet and protein intake and then I lived in the weight room about four hours a day or as long as I could without missing class."
Caspers is currently enrolled at Iowa State while working out with the football team.
Several schools expressed interest in Caspers, but he chose Iowa State because he liked the school and the coaches.
"It was the only school I was interested in," Caspers remarked. "I told my dad (Pete) on the way down to visit ISU that coach Paul Rhoads was going to offer me (a scholarship). When it happened, he was just as excited as I was."
When evaluating himself as a player, Caspers suggested he needs to work on becoming more patient.
"I need to get my footwork down more," he explained. "I need to relax more and slow things down. I need to learn to just let things happen and be patient and let things develop."
Caspers is quick for a 300-pound lineman. He ran a 4.8 in the 40-yard sprint.
"Jon brings a lot ot speed and athleticism to our program," said Rhoads. "We're very happy he is going to be a part of the Iowa State Cyclones."
Caspers is majoring in agronomy. But he also has a different field in mind ... a professional football field.
"I do have the NFL as my goal," he admitted. "My coach in junior college told me that I have climbed the hardest of the steps by making it here because only one percent of all high school athlete go on to the Division I level. Now all I have is to reach out and grab it by the hard work that got me here. I just need to step it up a little more now."
Maybe another conversation with his fifth-grade coach would help.