Honors & Awards
» 2018 Ray Guy Award Preseason Watch List
» Big Ten Freshman of the Week (vs. Oregon, 2016)
» Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll (Fall 2016)
» Brook Berringer Citizenship Team (2017, 2018)
» Tom Osborne Citizenship Team (2017, 2018)
Junior punter Caleb Lightbourn is set for his third season as the Huskers’ starter in 2018. The 6-3, 250-pound Lightbourn made big strides in 2017, improving his punting average by more than two yards per boot. Lightbourn possesses a strong leg and this spring he continued to become more consistent in his punting. Lightbourn also emerged as the likely kickoff specialist in 2018.
Lightbourn handled the punting duties as a true freshman in 2016, after being thrust into duty following the tragic death of Sam Foltz shortly before the start of fall camp.
Lightbourn showed improvement in his sophomore season after being thrust into the starting punting role as a true freshman in 2016. As a sophomore, Lightbourn punted 59 times for 2,486 yards, averaging 42.1 yards per punt. He ranked sixth in the Big Ten in punting and increased his average by 2.4 yards per punt from his freshman season. Lightbourn also totaled 13 punts of 50 yards or longer in 2017 and pinned the opponent inside the 20-yard line 21 times. He also had one kickoff in the season opener against Arkansas State.
Lightbourn averaged 42.4 yards per punt in the season opener with Arkansas State, booming a pair of 50-yarders while pinning the Red Wolves inside their 20-yard line three times. He had four 50-yard punts against Northern Illinois, when he averaged a then-career-high 47.3 yards per punt. Lightbourn had a then-career-long 64-yard punt against Rutgers, and he placed three of his five punts inside the Scarlet Knights’ 20-yard line. He set a then-career high with a 47.4 yard punting average against No. 9 Wisconsin, when he boomed a 69-yard punt, the longest of his career. Lightbourn set a career-best punting average for the second straight week against No. 9 Ohio State, when he averaged 48.0 yards per punt. Over the final six games, Lightbourn totaled six punts of 50 yards or longer.
Lightbourn handled the starting punting duties and played in 12 games. He did not see action against Illinois, when the Huskers were not forced to punt. Lightbourn averaged 39.7 yards on 65 punts, while downing 21 punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line. He also booted 10 punts of at least 50 yards,
Lightbourn averaged 47.2 yards on five punts against Oregon, including pinning the Ducks inside their 20 three times. He also booted a season-long 58-yard punt in that game, and was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week for his work. Lightbourn averaged 43 yards per punt against Purdue, with three punts downed inside the Boilermaker 10-yard line. He again had three punts inside the 20 at Wisconsin and Ohio State in the following two weeks.
Ligtbourn averaged 44.4 yards on four punts against Maryland, with three punts inside the opponent 20, marking the fourth time in five games he accomplished that feat. Lightbourn capped his freshman season by averaging 42.7 yards against Tennessee, including a 52-yard punt.
Before Nebraska (Camas HS)
Lightbourn excelled as both a punter and place-kicker for Coach Jon Eagle at Camas High School in Washington. Lightbourn missed a good portion of the 2015 season recovering from a knee injury, but did contribute to a Camas team that finished with an 11-1 record and reached the quarterfinals of the WIAA Class 4A playoffs. He averaged 45 yards on four punts in 2015.
In 2014, Lightbourn connected on 97 percent of his extra-point attempts and made 4-of-5 field goals. The Papermakers’ high-powered offense rarely punted, but Lightbourn averaged better than 45 yards on his limited attempts and produced touchbacks on better than 90 percent of his kickoffs. Lightbourn’s efforts on special teams helped Camas to a 10-1 record and a trip to the WIAA playoffs, and he earned all-league honors for his performance.
Lightbourn was also a member of the varsity as a sophomore in 2013, when Camas went 13-1, before losing in the state championship game.
Lightbourn was ranked as the No. 7 punter in the nation by 247 Sports and the 11th-best punter in the country by Scout.com He was also listed among the top 20 prospects in Washington by 247 Sports, ESPN and Scout.com. He also competed in soccer and track for Camas High.
Lightbourn chose Nebraska over Washington.
Lightbourn was born on Nov. 12, 1997, and is the son of Edgar Lightbourn and Marjie Van Der Laan. He has not declared a major. He earned a spot on the Brook Berringer and Tom Osborne Citizenship Teams in 2017 and 2018. He has volunteered with Uplifting Athletes, Husker Heroes, School is Cool and school and hospital outreach.