Manalapan senior Mike Caggiano, a two-time, first-team All-Shore selection by Shore Sports Network and the second all-time leading scorer among kickers in state history, announced Sunday that he has committed to the University of Massachusetts.

Caggiano took his official visit to UMass this weekend and decided to make the commitment on Sunday. He also had offers from the University of Hawaii and Stony Brook, where he also took official visits.

"I wanted to go wherever I felt like I was wanted the most, and that was UMass,'' Caggiano said. "I loved the campus, the players, the coaches, everything."

(Photo by Scott Stump)

Caggiano, who was a four-year starter for the Braves, also has a shot to compete for time immediately. While he is also a standout punter, he was recruited strictly as a place-kicker.

"There's a 100 percent chance I could be a starter,'' he said.

Caggiano also is the rare kicker to receive a full scholarship, as many often join FBS teams as preferred walk-ons and try to earn scholarships by getting the starting spot.

"For a kicker to get a full scholarship is something,'' Caggiano said. "It's unbelievable. All the hard work that I have put in going to so many camps and traveling the country, it has finally paid off. I'm just blessed to have all this."

As a kicker, he booted a 39-yard field goal, kicked 26 touchbacks and went 52-for-55 on extra points as a senior, finishing second all-time in state history in points by a kicker in the process with 237 for his career, including a state-record 195 extra points. Caggiano finished his career with 14 field goals and 75 touchbacks.

He also was a weapon as a punter, averaging 35.7 yards per punt, including a 71-yarder, and dropping three inside the opposing 20-yard line. His ability to change field position and force teams to mount long drives was crucial to the success of a Manalapan team that won its first state title in history and its fifth straight division title. Caggiano was also an All-Class A North pick by the coaches for a second straight year.

Caggiano also is the latest member of Manalapan's history-making senior class to earn a scholarship. Defensive back Dan Debner and defensive end Kyle Mullen are both headed to Yale University, and linebacker Joe Mendez is committed to Bryant University. Caggiano will join a UMass team that currently includes standout offensive lineman Tyrell Smith, a former Lacey star and NFL prospect.