Football Newcomer Update: Jon Caspers
AMES, Iowa - Iowa State offensive lineman Jon Caspers was a late bloomer, physically and on the gridiron. Talk about a growth spurt. At Bold High School near his hometown of Bird Island, Minn., he played at 6-3, 230 pounds. Caspers then headed to North Dakota State College of Sciences to play junior college football.
“I shot up 2 ½ inches and put on 60 pounds after my first junior college season,” Caspers said. “I began my career at NDSCS at center, but I didn’t like the position at (the junior college) level. I was then switched to defensive end for the rest of my freshman year before moving to the offensive line last spring.”
Caspers has come a long way. Relegated to the “B” team as a linebacker in seventh grade, he didn’t heed the advice of his eighth grade football coach.
“He told me I wasn’t going to do anything good in football and that I should quit,” Caspers said. “That kind of lit a fire under me.”
Caspers stuck with football in high school. He played center as a prep freshman and then converted to defensive end for the balance of his prep career. After the 2008 campaign at NDSCS, Wildcat head coach Chuck Parsons moved Caspers to the offensive line.
“(Parsons) thought I would be more marketable as an offensive tackle,” Caspers said. “Growing more helped because I had good speed and footwork for my size.”
Though he had yet to play a game on offense, NDSCS passed Caspers’ spring film to several schools, including Iowa State.
“There was absolutely no game film of me on offense,” Caspers said. “The tape had video of me doing work outs with boards and bags. (Iowa State) liked how quick I moved. I came down to Iowa State on an unofficial visit this past summer and (first-year Iowa State head) coach Rhoads offered me a scholarship.”
When the 2009 season began, Caspers was nervous for NDSCS’ first scrimmage but soon became acclimated to his chosen position.
“I always thought that you couldn’t play with total abandon in the offensive line,” Caspers said. “But I soon realized that when the offensive line is pulling, you do get to put it on people. I let loose during the season and let things happen.”
Caspers’ performance last fall affirmed Iowa State’s faith in his football future. He started all 12 games in 2009 en route to JUCO All-America honors. NDSCS averaged 181 yards rushing, ranking 19th nationally.
Caspers is already starting to feel at home in Ames after enrolling for the spring semester.
“I really like the camaraderie on the team,” Caspers said. “In the locker room and all around everybody is getting along. It’s not just in the locker room. When I am walking on campus a teammate will see me and say hello. I have a good vibe about this place.”
Cyclone fans are just glad Caspers didn’t listen to his eighth-grade coach.