Athlete of the Issue: Caleb Coleman

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Courtesy of Caleb Coleman '20

Caleb Coleman '20 weaving through Noble’s defensive line.

After four years and twelve varsity letters, captain Caleb Coleman ‘20 heads into his final year of Groton football. In addition to Varsity football, Caleb has contributed to track, basketball, and lacrosse not only as an extraordinary athlete but also as a leader. His determination, grit, and resilience have led him to find great success at Groton and will propel him to find success in the future. 

Since Second Form, Caleb has been a crucial member of the Varsity Football team. In his first two years, he helped with special teams and occasionally linebacker on defense. Now, he plays all over the field on both offense and defense. 

Caleb has always filled in the gaps for positions that the team needed. Teammates say that Caleb is a hard worker shown by his extra time in the weightroom or field before and after practice. It is this extra effort that makes Caleb such an admirable athlete.

Caleb will be leading both the varsity football and basketball teams as captain. A captain is selfless, competitive, and approachable. They are the ones that younger athletes look up to and are the ones that lead the team in the toughest times. As seen in the votes for captain, Caleb Coleman is the man for the job, although he says he had to change his approach to leadership over his football career. 

“When I first started at Groton, I tried to lead purely off of individual performance. I thought that if I had a good game that was leadership. Along the way, I watched leaders like Bennet Smith ‘19 impact the team, and especially myself. Now, after my junior year, I feel the pieces coming together and expect the best out of my teammates along with myself,” said Caleb. 

Caleb has learned hard work and great leadership from the people around him. Most importantly, he plays for the team, not for himself. 

Contrary to what some may think, Caleb was not born with a football in his hands. In fact, his first dream was to play professional basketball, particularly because his dad was a big basketball fan. 

“It wasn’t until I got to Groton that football passed basketball as my true love,” he admitted. Now, Caleb has left behind his dream of playing in the NBA and set his eyes on a football career. 

Next year, Caleb will continue scoring touchdowns and breaking tackles as a Princeton Tiger. This decision, however, was not an easy one; Caleb was recruited by all of the Ivy League schools and majority of the Patriots League schools. Ultimately, he received an impressive thirteen offers. 

Caleb said, “In the end, it came down to a gut feeling that was telling me Princeton was the place I wanted to be, and the one that gave me the opportunity to reach all my goals.” 

With Princeton football in his near future, Caleb is ready for one last season as a Groton Zebra. 

“The memories I have made in that number 11 jersey will stay with me forever. High school football is a really special thing no matter where you play, and I will never forget it,” he said. 

For Caleb, the football team goes beyond the actual games and practices. It is a game that builds character.

 Caleb says, “It is a sport where you most likely end up on the ground and are faced with the decision to get back up or quit. We all know it is a dangerous game, but I think that is what makes it so special. You have ten brothers and maybe a sister (shoutout to Autumn Johnson ’19) who must have your back and you must have theirs.” 

With the lessons learned and the friendships forged, Caleb will no doubt go on to score many touchdowns for Princeton. But first, he is determined to beat St. Marks one more time.

When did you first start playing football?

 

I started playing flag football around first or second grade. When I moved to Wellesley in third grade, I began playing tackle. I think I was around nine years old. 

 

What position(s) do you play at Groton?

 

At Groton, I have always played anywhere they needed me. When I was in lower school, that was mainly on special teams and occasionally playing linebacker on defense. Now, I really get moved all over the place on the field which makes the game really fun. 

 

Who do you root for in the NFL? 

 

GO PANTHERS. Cam Newton for Most Valuable Player, no doubt. 

 

Is your family a “big football family”? 

 

My dad was a big time basketball player growing up, so he always pushed me towards basketball. My mom spent a lot of time overseas when she was little, and football isn’t too big over there. My parents love watching me play now, but my mom still hates every time I hit or get hit. My little sister, on the other hand, is our biggest fan –– look out for her in her zebra outfit this fall. 

 

What schools were you recruited to play at?

 

Princeton was actually the first school to make an offer to me. After that, I was recruited by all of the Ivy League schools and a bunch of Patriot League schools. I think I ended up with 13 schools to choose from when it came time.

 

Why did you choose Princeton?

 

Choosing a school for me was mainly having long conversations with both myself and people close around me weighing the posistives and negatives at each school. In the end, it came down to a gut feeling that was telling me Princeton was the place I wanted to be and would give me the opportunity to reach all my goals. 

 

What do you most look forward to in terms of football at Princeton?

 

Right now, the thing I look forward to most right now is September 2 when my last year of football at Groton will kick off. I’ll carry the memories I have made in my #11 jersey forever. High School football is a really special thing no matter where you are playing.