By: Nick Pooler
This story is one that means a lot to me as a sports writer. I am taking a quick break from the professional sports world to write about one of my best friends from the start. Kaleb Caron is a standout athlete and person, and all around a great guy that everybody should take the time to get to know. From playing youth sports for years, to heading into yet another semester at Husson with him, it has truly been a pleasure being by his side the whole way. Here is a little bit about Kaleb and how everything is going for him for anyone interested.
In a recent interview with Kaleb, I asked him several questions to give his perspective on everything. In his first two seasons so far at Husson, Kaleb stressed that it has been a great experience, differing from high school football greatly.
“My freshman season it was a big transition for me coming out of high school where I was comfortable with all my close friends playing together and knowing everyone around me. I had to start over completely becoming a freshman again starting from the bottom working my way up, I didn’t know many people on the team so meeting new players from all over the country was a little difficult and intimidating for me at first. I had to get use to finding my spot on the team and understand that I probably wasn’t going to get the playing time I wanted so I had to be there for the team in other aspects. I was able to get into games here and there and get a few reps to get a taste of what college football was like,” Caron said. If anyone could make this transition work out, it was Kaleb for sure.
Kaleb got his chance late in his freshman year when he was given a starting spot on the kick return squad. “This was my first real reps in a college football game and it was way different than what I was use to, the game itself was so much faster along with the players and their size.”
The good thing for Kaleb, was how outstanding that Husson Eagle defense was. This defense was ranked 21st in the whole entire country. This gave him a lot of experience to learn from and a lot of talent to fill in for for his Sophomore season. It was his freshman year where he earned his first gold ball, championship ring and his first ever trip to playoffs along with being the first Husson Football team to ever make it past the first round of playoffs.
He used all of these events to lead up to his 2nd year. Kaleb talked about how he was more comfortable and how he has grown as a player. “Adapting to new coaching, teammates, and specifically defense has become easier and less stressful for me. I’m now starting at linebacker along with special teams; getting more reps during practice and in games has helped me get use to the game speed,” said Caron.
After a big win at home last weekend against Gallaudet University, Caron and the Eagles won the conference championship yet again. They now await to Sunday night to see who they will face off against in the division three tournament.
Another point of emphasis covered in our discussion was the change of defense from high school to college. Kaleb had this great, detailed quote when it came to talking about the change of D; “Adapting to a new defense was pretty difficult for me at first, but the more reps I got during practice and in games made it a lot easier for me to understand and get the hang of. There’s a lot more to a defense now than there was in high school so trying to learn it all and put it into play on the field took a little bit of getting used to. I wish I knew the things I know now back in high school, I have great coaches and players around me who push me to my full potential.”
One important factor to Kaleb is having two former high school teammates with him on the journey. Senior OL Brad Weston and junior DB Isaiah Swan. Both these guys have made him feel more comfortable and make it feel more like home for him as a player. “Not many people can say they played together from 3rd grade all the way up through college like me and Brad have,” Caron said. Traveling all around and spending extra time with teammates has helped Kaleb establish new friendships that for sure should last for a long time.
I asked Kaleb how different his high school football career was to the first half of his collegiate career. He really stressed on the speed of the game, as it has increased tremendously. “Football at the DIII level is overlooked and not a lot of people pay attention to us, but what people don’t realize is how passionate we are as players for this sport.” I couldn’t agree more with this quote from him. After watching some games, and seeing these guys walk around campus, they definitely deserve more credit. “We go out everyday and play this sport because of the love we have for it, we aren’t on scholarship or anything we are doing it out of enjoyment and love for the sport.” this just goes to show how truly passionate and humble he is towards the game.
Stepping away from football for a minute, Kaleb is majoring in business and plans to have his own business and claims his transition academic wise from high school to college has been very smooth. “Juggling a job, school and football can definitely be overwhelming and difficult at times, but it is all worth it and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
He was not kidding when he was talking about having his own business. Him and his brother, Tyler Caron, started their own clothing line two years ago. Apparel can be found and purchased online at this link, https://guidanceapparelcompany.com/. The pros and cons of the business world has already found its way to Kaleb’s head. “We have enjoyed the whole process and journey through all the ups and downs. It gets difficult at times trying to take care of a business while going to school, working and playing football. We are having fun with it and are learning so much along the way which makes it so great, I’m able to do something that I’m passionate about and also enjoy it with my brother; it can’t get much better than that if you ask me.”
The goal behind this clothing line was to create their clothing line because they have always been into fashion and thought it would be cool to create their own clothing that they enjoy, and share it with others so they could enjoy it as well. It truly shows a lot about Kalebs’ character with how well he balances everything together successfully.
The last topic that Kaleb and I talked about was his long term plans for his football career. The quote that he delivered to me really shows his love for the game, “I want to play the sport I love as long as I can, and I want to enjoy it as long as possible because it won’t last forever and I understand that. I’m grateful I have been able to play for the past 13 years and hope I can continue to play. I know the man upstairs has a plan for me and I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing and see where he takes me.”
One thing that drives each and every athlete to becoming greater than they already are is their support group. Kaleb wanted to take some time to give shoutouts to those who have helped him along the way. Here are some direct quotes coming from him when talking about people who have helped him along the way:
“Shoutout to my coaches who put so much work, time, and effort in for me and the team. Along with some of my close friends who I played with Eli Kropp, Hunter Russell, Mike McArthur, Cody Spencer, Will Johnson and the rest of my former friends along with my boy Garrett Maheux.”
“Coach Goodheart thank you for everything you have done for me and all the sacrifices you have made to make me the best I could be. The endless amount of hours you have spent with me on and off the field has made me the player I am today and I’m blessed to have a role model like you in my life.”
“To my friends and family thank you for all the support throughout my career up to this point. You’re my motivation everyday and the reason why I continue to do what I do.”
“Dad thank you for being the kickstart to my career and coaching me to be the best I could be. Having you as a coach early in my career taught me that things wouldn’t be handed to me just because I was your son. You made it clear that I would have to work twice as hard to earn the things I wanted and because of that I thank you.
“Mom & Melissa thank you for always believing in me and always making me feel like I can do anything as long as I put the work in and believe in myself like the way both of you believe in me.”
“The past two years playing college football has been the best two years of my career so far. I’m truly blessed to have the opportunity to meet new friends and build relationships with the team and coaches I now call family. To be able to spend everyday with some of my best friends and be playing football while doing it is something not a lot of people get the opportunity to do which is why I cherish every day and enjoy every second of it,” said Caron in his final quote.
On the year, Kaleb has 30 tackles, 2 sacks for -20 yards including a fumble recovery. Out of his 30 tackles, 6 of them were for a loss for a total of -32 yards. To add to his accolades, Caron won Husson’s week four defensive player of the week and also got mentioned on noontime sports for his play against Alfred State.
He will continue to add onto these numbers and make everyone who knows him proud. As one of his best friends, I personally could not be any more proud or happy for K. he continues to get better and represent Gardiner with a lot of heart and courage. Make sure to keep following up on his career and try to get to as many Husson games as you can. I would like to thank Kaleb for taking the time to answer my questions. Best of luck to him in the future.