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Caulcrick: Hellish Childhood, Inspiring Story

Posted by Eric Allen on May 2, 2008 – 12:18 pm

"It was something I feel nobody should have to go through."

That is how the astonishing childhood story of Jehuu Caulcrick begins. While I was searching for information on the Jets’ 2008 free agent class, I came across an unbelievable video clip of Caulcrick, a Michigan State product who is here this weekend practicing with the Green & White.

The 6’0”, 254-pound Caulcrick, a powerful runner who led the Big Ten in scoring and set an MSU record with 21 rushing TDs in 2007, will attempt to impress the coaching staff and make a play for the fourth running back position. But the fact that he has even made it to Hempstead borders on the miraculous.

Months before the draft, Caulcrick was interviewed by Jay Crawford on ESPN’s morning TV show “First Take.” Here are some excerpts of his quotes in that interview:

War Breaks Out

“I was born and raised in West Africa, a country called Liberia. I led a normal childhood up until I was 7 or 8 and then a civil war broke out. At that time we found ourselves fleeing for our lives, and we literally went from one refugee camp to the next refugee camp. We literally were stepping over dead bodies en route to those camps. I had a strong faith in God and with my grandmother and my mom and all those people alongside — we had to persevere through that and hope for the best.”

Hell on Earth

“The average day was awful. You sleep about two hours a night, and then you have to get up and run to another refugee camp. You go to a checkpoint where I literally saw pregnant women get cut up in front of me and babies falling out and people get killed right in front of me.

"We had these backpacks on our backs that had sleeping bags in them so we could sleep when we got to the next refugee camp. When we got to the refugee camp, we’d open up our backpacks to take the sleeping bags out and you’d see bullets in the backpack. Good thing we had the backpacks on or they would have killed us.”

Startling News

“One of the worst things that happened to me was through [the war] because my father was involved in politics. He had to separate from us in order to protect us and he was assassinated in that time period when he was not with us. The hardest part of that time period was how we found about it. Nobody came and told us. We had to read about it in the newspaper and that was something that was real shocking to me and upsetting.”

A Way Out

Jehuu’s mother, Bonita, "came to America in order to establish citizenship so she could come back and get my sister and me out of there. But she lost all connections with us in America because the war broke out and we didn’t have any communications through that.

"One day she just decided to pick up and come to Africa and find us. It was basically like shooting a dart in the dark because she didn’t know where we were. She would go to a house and they’d tell her, ‘Oh you just missed them. They were here, but they’ve gone to this place,’ and it would be the same thing over and over.

"It took her two, three months to finally get in contact with us and find us. When she did, it was a very good reunion. I still remember my grandfather when he first saw her — he couldn’t believe it was her. He just kept repeating her name, ‘Bonita, Bonita.’ She was like, ‘Yes, Dad, it’s me,’ hoping that he wouldn’t have a heart attack just from seeing her. It was a very happy time, her coming back, but that led to another journey with us coming to America.”

Visas to a New Life

“She took us to the embassy to get visas for us to come to the country. They didn’t believe she was our mother, so she kept fighting with them and fighting with them. Finally she said, ‘If you don’t believe I’m the mother, you can have them.’ So she kind of pretended like she was leaving and started walking out. This guy was like, ‘No, ma’am, wait, wait, wait!’ She finally came back and that’s how we were granted visas to America.”

Lasting Impact

“It affected me greatly. It’s something I definitely keep in the back of my head, and I want to keep it in the back of my head because I feel it makes me a stronger person.”


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Posted in Eric Allen | 14 Comments »


14 Responses to “Caulcrick: Hellish Childhood, Inspiring Story”

  1. By TFrank on May 2, 2008 | Reply

    Unbelievable story.
    Playing football is child’s play compared to his life.
    I hope he it makes it for a whole host of reasons.
    God Bless.

  2. By Shannon Davis on May 2, 2008 | Reply

    An unbelievable story that should be heard by all. Can’t wait to hear more about this young man.

  3. By Dunnie on May 2, 2008 | Reply

    That is a truly incredible and inspiring story. If the NFL thing does not work out, there is a movie waiting to happen there. I hope this kid get everything he ever dreamt for and more.

  4. By Frank on May 2, 2008 | Reply

    Jehuu is an inspiring story and wish him luck. He is however a very lucky man since he was able to get out. Not to upstage his story I spent time in 2002 & 2003 in a town, Kigoma in western Tanzania on Lake Tanganyika. In that area 4 countries come together Congo, Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania. I witnessed the worst humanity has to offer and there are hundreds of thosands of stories we never hear.

  5. By Frank on May 2, 2008 | Reply

    Dunnie there is a very inspiring story already that mirrors his story it’s “Blood Diamond”. That story is played out every day in many areas of Africa and we never hear about it. It should be mandatory that everyone in America witness first hand the inhumanity that exists over there. I’d love to sent a bunch of these gang punks in this country over there. I do believe in being scared straight.

  6. By CEDRIC on May 2, 2008 | Reply

    Thats a great story, I live in brooklyn, in the “Projects” and i see these “thugs” try to act all tough on the streets, but they dont know what its like to really face adversity, and have to work hard to achieve goals, HE DOES, i’m pullin for Caulcrick!! He’s a Jet in my eyes already.

  7. By Dwight on May 2, 2008 | Reply

    Jehuu played against my school a few years back… I was only in middle school when he was a senior, but I ran against him in track that year and he was a mammoth of a man! nice kid! I wish him the best of luck in his career!

  8. By Joshua on May 3, 2008 | Reply

    i saw him on tv awhile back and was hoping they would draft him in the 7th. good player.

  9. By MikeMc on May 3, 2008 | Reply

    CEDRIC get out now your gonna be a statistic ,you don’t belong there, save yourself. Some people get stuck due to lack of education and opportunity, but your obviously educated and you make your own opportunities. I hope Caulcrick realizes the opportunity he has been afforded and makes the most of it. I hope the jets Keep the players that can help us win not who has the best “how I got here story”

  10. By RyBoy on May 7, 2008 | Reply

    I also played sports against Caulcrick in high school. On the baskeball court, volleyball, and football fields. He had amazing speed for a big guy, and still does. It’s been great to watch as we left the rural area of NY where we grew up, and see him crush defensive players at MSU. I was ecstatic to hear that he is now a JET! I hope he can make a positive impact with the team!

  11. By Michael Putney on May 13, 2008 | Reply

    I had the great opportunity of coaching against him in basketball when he played JR High. He was one outstanding player in all the sports he played. I only regret that the Bills didn’t draft him. Hopefully he makes the Jets roster as they would be one lucky team.

  12. By Al on May 13, 2008 | Reply

    Caulcrick is exactly what our offense needs. A short yardage guy that is always moving forward and will get the tough yards when you need it. He’s also going to be great by the goal line, an area where we really struggled last year. Thomas Jones only had one TD last year. Caulcrick will punch it in when we have 3rd and goal from the 2. I say he wins the 4th RB spot over Chatman.

  13. By Miguel on Jun 5, 2008 | Reply

    Caulcrick and Chatman will be what Bradshaw and Ward were for the Giants. Explosive, game breaking potential with pivotal handoffs to take the pressure off of Jones and Washington.

  14. By nick on Aug 16, 2008 | Reply

    I played against jehuu in high school. when he played for clymer and i played for maple grove. he is a freight train, he dominated every team in high school he would drag four guys at a time and not slow down. jehuu is an amazing ball player, and has been through alot more than alot of people. i wouldn’t mind if the jets dropped him and the bills picked him up. keep strong jehuu, you’ll make it

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