Punter eyes NFL after brilliant season

Sweet boot: Kirrawee's Michael Dickson has a bright future ahead as a punter. Picture: John Veage
Sweet boot: Kirrawee's Michael Dickson has a bright future ahead as a punter. Picture: John Veage

Michael Dickson will look to kick start his NFL career in 2018 after a season full of accolades at the University of Texas.

The former Sydney Swans Academy player and Kirrawee High School student made a bold switch to American football in 2014 – a switch he has labelled “the best decision of my life”.

Last month, Dickson was named the winner of the Ray Guy Award – given to the best punter in college football in the USA.

He won the award following his third and best season with the Texas Longhorns where he averaged 48.4 yards per punt.

Punt: Michael Dickson in action for the Texas Longhorns. Picture: Supplied

Punt: Michael Dickson in action for the Texas Longhorns. Picture: Supplied

Remarkably, a couple of weeks later he was also named the MVP of the Texas Bowl. He repeatedly pinned the Missouri Tigers inside their own 15-yard line with 11 pin-point punts, guiding his side to a 33-16 victory.

It was the first time a punter was named MVP of a college bowl since 2008.

Dickson, 22, said winning the Texas Bowl with his team mates trumped any personal accolade he had won so far.

“Definitely. Especially because I knew it was my last game and seeing everyone jumping around and smiling and really happy – it is the greatest feeling that I have felt so far.”

Dickson will leave the university this year after declaring himself eligible for the NFL Draft in April.

It means he will skip his final year at college, a rare decision for a punter, to try and land a contract in the NFL.

“It was a tough decision because it is not common for punters. And I will really miss my team mates,” he said.

“But so many things felt right around this decision, and after talking with my family I knew it was the right decision for me.”

He said the decision felt similar to his decision to move to Victoria in 2014 to pursue punting with ProKick Australia and he was completely confident with his choice.

He added he felt like he was ending his college career on a perfect note.

Dickson revealed it took him a while to get his head around the ins and outs of American football during his first season at the University of Texas, but he was now much more relaxed and confident on the field.

“With my position it is all about feeling relaxed. You need a relaxed mentality and that is the key to performing well. And learning the rules made me more confident as well.”

He likened punting to golf, where the slightest change in technique can make a kick go completely wayward.

During his holiday back in the shire, Dickson said he received a few funny looks while out practicing his punting.

“No-one really came up to me to ask me what I was doing. But, yeah, you do get a few serious looks.”

Dickson headed back to the US today.

His cousin Ryan Bujcevski, originally from Peakhurst, will likely take over his spot this year with the Texas Longhorns.

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