Alumni update: Lightning in a bottle
Published 5:22 pm Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Grand Meadow grad Caleb Leichtnam smashes NJCAA interception record
If there was ever a doubt that Caleb Leichtnam belonged in the college football scene, it has been erased.
Leichtnam, a 2011 grad of Grand Meadow, set a new NJCAA record as he picked off 20 passes for the Rochester Community and Technical College football team this fall.
The previous NJCAA record was 14 interceptions.
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In high school, Leichtnam, a six-foot, 177 pound safety, probably didn’t get the attention he deserved, despite the fact that he was an offensive and defensive machine for the Superlarks.
Now he’s pleased to find some success with the Yellowjackets, who finished 11-1 overall.
“Throughout high school, I had people looking down on me and not believing how good I was. That makes (this year) even better,” Leichtnam said. “The first couple of weeks were pretty hard, but to have a great year like this will make me want to see how far I can go.”
Leichtnam gave RCTC a physical presence as he racked up 32 tackles, including three for a loss. He also scored two defensive touchdowns, broke up six passes and had 422 return yards on his picks.
Finding that much success as a freshman is rare, but Leichtnam gave credit to the linemen in front of him.
“It’s kind of surprising (to have this much success), but we’ve got a tough defense and it makes our job pretty easy,” he said. “The linebackers stop the run and I just sit back and watch the passing game.”
Leichtnam played free safety for the Yellowjackets this season, which made him responsible for calling out formations and making adjustments. It took him awhile to adjust, but once he got going, it was pretty natural.
“The speed of the game wasn’t so tough,” Leichtnam said. “But the formations are different and I’m responsible for making adjustments. It was a little tough to pick up at first.”
Leichtnam would like to move on and play for a four-year school next season, but it all depends on what kind of looks he gets. He’s not ruling out going back to RCTC.
“I’m waiting for the right offer and I could see myself here next year if it doesn’t come,” he said.
As Leichtnam, who made the All MCAC Southern Division First Team, has moved on to college football, a new Grand Meadow playmaker was wearing his jersey number this fall. Freshman Landon Jacobson took Leichtnam’s No. 5 this past season and he didn’t disappoint as he ran for 772 yards and scored 11 total TDs.
“He has a bright future ahead of him for sure,” Leichtnam said of Jacobson. “I went to a couple of games this year and I still cheer for Grand Meadow.”
Another area player to have a solid season for RCTC was running back David Schotanus. The Southland grad, who is 6-feet, 223 pounds, made the All-Southern Division second team as a blocking back. He also had 12 carries for 26 yards and two touchdowns.
Another Southland grad, Camden Hurd, had nine tackles for the Yellowjackets this fall.