QBE Sydney Swans Academy product Michael Dickson has been selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL Draft.
The 21-year-old has been trying his luck at American Football after receiving a scholarship at the University of Texas as a punter.
He quickly became one of the top punters in the US College system and was taken by the Seahawks with pick 149.
Scouts rated the Sydney local as the best punter in the draft class after he won the Ray Guy Award, the top gong for punters in college football.
“I talked to family, talked to friends, talked to coaches and mentors close to me, and it seemed right to give up my senior year and take on the NFL,” Dickson told sydneyswans.com.au in January.
“Putting my degree on the back-burner and giving up a year of something I love was a pretty tough decision, I love being a Longhorn and love everything about it.
“I feel like I’ve achieved all the goals I set for myself in college so the time’s right to take on the next level.”
In 2015, the then 19-year-old moved to Melbourne to trial with Prokick Australia, a coaching program designed to help aspiring kickers and punters cross the Pacific crack American Football.
Tapes of Dickson consistently sending the foreign footy 50-60m caught the attention of the Texas Longhorns, the athletic program out of the University of Texas.
Before too long, Dickson was on his way to the United States with a scholarship in hand and the attention of the burnt orange community.
He made an immediate impression, as a freshman then as a sophomore, before stamping his authority in his junior year.
In front of nearly 68,000 people at Houston’s NRG Stadium, Dickson led the Longhorns to a 33-16 victory over Missouri in the Texas Bowl.
“That was a great experience,” he said during a now rare visit to the SCG.
“I knew going in that it would be my last game, as I announced in the lead up that it’d be my last.
“Being able to get out there and have a look around and thank all the fans … I got to go out there 11 times, which gave me plenty of opportunities to soak it all in.
“It was just unreal to get the win and to see my friends, who turned into brothers during the program, celebrating and so happy – it was the best feeling.”
In the lead up to the Texas Bowl, Dickson broke protocol and nominated for the draft earlier than usual – a calculated risk on the back of his unrivalled season, with all signs pointing to the Sydney-raised sportsman becoming the 24th Australian to sign with an NFL team.
As well as taking home the trophy to Austin, Dickson won the Texas Bowl’s MVP Award after sending 10 of his 11 punts inside the opposition’s 15-yard line (four inside Missouri’s five-yard line).
“Looking back and seeing how far I’ve come it’s unbelievable – I’m pretty proud,” he said.