As his first year at College of the Canyons was winding down, Caylin Hauptmann, one of the best junior college offensive linemen in the country, was being pursued by some of college football’s biggest names: California, UCLA and Washington. He decided to pack his bags and move to Miami, becoming one of the most highly sought after recruits in FIU football’s young history.
FIU offered him something the perennial Pac-10 title contenders couldn’t: the chance to build a legacy and traditions for the future.
“I’ve always wanted to be part of a program that is maturing,” said Hauptmann of FIU, “I want to be part of a program that is being established, that is creating a legacy.”
Hauptmann, the son of a German émigré father and African-American mother, is seen by many as a keystone to FIU’s success next year. At 6-foot-4 and 315 pounds he joins seniors Brad Serini and Cedrick Mack on an increasingly large and more physical offensive line.
“Hauptmann has the ability to be an instant difference-maker in the trenches,” said head coach Mario Cristobal. “We’re extremely excited about having Hauptmann join the FIU family.”
Reinforcing that sense of family is what Coach Alex Mirabal has been drilling into the linemen. “The line all has the same mentality – five guys, one mind,” said Hauptmann.
The lines, possibly the hardest position to develop in a college football program, have been a work in progress for FIU during the last four years. It takes at least two years to physically develop a lineman for the college game, to add the functional size and develop the strength that will allow them to contend with Division I linemen. In that regard, Hauptmann has a head start.
Thanks to his year at College of the Canyons in California, where he also competed in shotput for track and field, Hauptmann was able to square up against physically mature players and undergo a more rigorous conditioning program than the average first year FBS athlete.
“I had the grades to play Division I ball out of high school, but junior college allows you to mature both mentally and physically,” said Hauptmann. “The guys you are playing against are the same guys you’d play against in Division I and it really prepares you for the next level.”
His development has continued, and since coming to FIU, Hauptmann has seen noticeable gains under the direction of strength and conditioning coach Roderick Moore.
“The training has been great,” says Hauptmann. “I love intense football and intense training, and coach Moore has given me that. They have given me everything they promised me.”
While he develops on the field, Hauptmann is busy personifying what it means to be a well-rounded FIU student-athlete. Majoring in international business and business management, Hauptmann hopes to one day pursue his love of music with a career in recording arts industry. A former band member, Hauptmann uses his time away from the field to learn the piano and practice karate. Martial arts, he says, has helped him improve his balance and footwork as a lineman.
“Karate was my thing. I competed in it nationally and internationally for seven years, going to places like Spain and Germany before choosing to devote myself entirely to football my junior year of high school,” says Hauptmann, who still makes time to hone his skills as a martial artist.
Hauptmann arrived at FIU for Summer B and says he already feels he’s part of a family.
“I hope that everyone will come out and support us as much as possible,” he said. “We are a family this year, and we are working hard to have a great season.”
– Julian Kasdin ’07