Round 5 – No. 164 (overall)
Mike Gillislee, RB
Height: 5’11” – Weight: 208 lbs.
Age: 22 – Class: Senior
Round 5 – No. 166 (overall)
Caleb Sturgis, K
Height: 5’10” – Weight: 188 lbs.
Age: 23 – Class: Senior (redshirt)
The Miami Dolphins sat by and watched for years as AFC East rival New England plucked top talent from the Florida Gators, a school located just four hours away from Miami.
The Dolphins chose to be spectators no longer when the franchise selected running back Mike Gillislee (No. 164 overall) and kicker Caleb Sturgis (No. 166 overall) on Saturday during the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
The two players join linebacker Jelani Jenkins, who was selected No. 104 overall by Miami in the fourth round on Saturday, and center Mike Pouncey (No. 15, 2011) on the Dolphins. Miami has now selected 13 former Florida players all-time including three in 2012 and four in the last three years.
Gillislee became the first Gators running back drafted since Chris Rainey (No. 159, 2012), while Sturgis was the first Florida kicker selected since Jeff Chandler (No. 102, 2002) and just the fourth in school history.
Though not a starter until his senior season, Gillislee made the most of the opportunity by racking up 1,152 yards while becoming the Gators’ first 1,000-yard rusher since Ciatrick Fason in 2004. He averaged 4.7 yards per carry and scored 10 touchdowns.
“I feel like I am a complete back. I feel like I can block, catch the ball and run the ball very well. I’m a good competitor and just being behind Chris Rainey I learned a lot. I’m just ready to play football,” he said.
Saturday wound up being the realization of a dream for Gillislee, who grew up rooting for the Dolphins and now gets the opportunity to play close to home for his favorite team. “The Dolphins were always my favorite team. It was always a dream, and now my dream came true,” he said. “I’m going to be closer to my family and I’m just ready to play football. It’s good weather to play football and everything.”
Sturgis ended his career at Florida as one of the greatest kickers in the history of the program. A two-time finalist for the Lou Groza Award in 2011 and 2012, Sturgis never won the honor but still went ahead and set school records for field goals made both in a career (68) and single season (24). He went 24-for-28 during his redshirt senior season and netted all three of his attempts from 50 yards out or longer.
“I couldn’t be more excited about staying in the state of Florida. My little brother’s with me (and) he’s a huge Dolphins fan. This was awesome,” said Sturgis, who was on the 17th hole of a golf course when he was selected. “This was a place I really wanted to go. I’m just ecstatic that I get to go here.”
Pouncey, who tweeted his excitement after Gillislee was selected, said he hoped that Miami found a way to pick Sturgis as well. He got his wish. “Wow that’s crazy I can’t believe I just predicted that,” he tweeted. “I will be handing out gator shirts to all my teammates this coming up week.”