If what he was told is correct, Caleb Collins has set an impressive standard.
The Greenbrier High School senior accepted a full scholarship to shoot clay targets at Southeastern Illinois College and was honored during a signing ceremony last week.
Collins was told he was the first in Georgia to receive a full scholarship to shoot competitively.
Keith Howard, with the Columbia County 4-H Club, said Collins' success could motivate other area shooters.
"It gives them something to work toward," Howard said. "It gives them another goal, another option to see that if they don't play football or basketball or baseball, (there is) another competitive sport to get involved in."
Lori Patterson, lead coordinator of the Columbia County 4H Shotgun Team, said in February that Collins' scholarship was the first she had heard of, but that now they would know whom to contact about getting other shooters attention from colleges.
Howard began working with Collins when he started shooting with the 4-H club in middle school.
Howard was able to offer tips at that stage, but Collins has progressed to the point where Howard primarily is now a spectator.
"We just provided the opportunity and place for him," Howard said. "He just kind of took it from there."
Collins had planned to stay in the area after his graduation. He has traveled the country for shooting competitions, but wasn't interested in moving far from home.
But Southeastern Illinois had followed Collins' scores and called with a scholarship offer in January.
"I decided to take it up," Collins said.
Lake Oconee shooting coach Sammy McFaddin helped him progress to his current spot. Collins started working with McFaddin and competing with the Lake Oconee shooting team when he was 15.
Collins was the 2007 and 2008 Scholastic Clay Target Program Georgia champion and was the 2007 Georgia state sub-junior champ in sport clays.
In addition to shooting at Lake Oconee, Collins started traveling to Texas for more training and competitions.
He learned how to better handle the pressure of competition. He also picked up the pull-away method, which involves pulling the gun along the target and firing almost as a reflex. Collins had used sustained lead, which he said involved picking a spot in front of a target and hoping for the best.
"That right there improved my scores big time," he said.
Collins probably has down the technical aspects of his shooting. Howard said what helped Collins earn the scholarship was his dedication to the sport.
"I knew he wanted it," Howard said. "He loves to shoot. It's something he enjoys doing."
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