One punt, two nations

At a local park in Australia in December 2012, Bearkats’ junior punter Lachlan Edwards punted an American football for the first time while hanging out with some friends.

He did not know at the time that one punt would change his next three years.

“One of my professors from Ballarat University – the university I attended at the time – drove by and saw me punt,” Edwards said. “He stopped, parked his car and asked if I played. He put me in touch with a kicking coach in Australia, and it just took off from there.”One

The kicking coach helped Edwards put together a highlight film that consisted of him punting and playing Australian football. He started emailing it to a number of colleges in the United States.

“I was pretty excited when I started getting replies and phone calls from all of the different colleges,” Edwards said. “Even if it was at all hours of the day because of the time difference.

Sam Houston State was one of the schools to which Edwards emailed the highlight film and former special teams coach Robert Discher liked what he saw. He contacted Edwards and his family and got to know them a little better. He also wanted to see more film to make sure he was the real deal.

“Discher got in touch with me, because his punter at the time (also Australian) was graduating, and he was recruiting people that could potentially fill the spot,” Edwards said.

After receiving offers from other schools, Edwards chose to travel across the Pacific and attend SHSU.

“I eventually chose Sam Houston State because I felt it was a good fit for my Australian lifestyle,” Edwards said. “It’s crazy that everything happened so fast. One moment I was punting for the first time and the next I’m booking a flight to Texas.”

At Ballarat University, Edwards made the First Team All-Australian University in Australian Rules football in 2012. He also played rugby, cricket and ran track in field. He also played for the state rugby champions in 2009.

He had to leave that all behind him, but coming to Texas was an offer he could not refuse, he said.

“To come to a place I had only seen on TV to play college football and get a free education was an amazing opportunity for me,” Edwards said.

Last year, Edwards led the Southland Conference in punting with an average of 42.3 yards on 31 kicks and his longest punt went for 70 yards. After graduating, Edwards wants to try his luck and play in the NFL.

“I’m going to give everything I have and try to make it,” Edwards said. “I don’t want to finish playing college football knowing I didn’t give it my all. I am determined to make the League.”

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