“I want to start with a bang and show Miami fans what I can do.”
Those are the words from Mandurah boy and American football punter Louis Hedley, who achieved his goal of signing with a senior college when he committed to becoming the newest player on the University of Miami Hurricanes’ roster a fortnight ago.
The 25-year-old agreed to play for “The U” after spending the past season punting at the junior college level in San Francisco, and will attend the school on scholarship while completing a degree.
It’s a monumental move that will see Hedley sending the ball down the field for one of the biggest college football programs in the nation, giving him a realistic chance of being recognised by scouts in the National Football League (NFL).
Just over two years ago Hedley was working as a scaffolder in Mandurah, playing local Aussie rules in the Peel Football and Netball League.
His journey towards the American game began in Melbourne, where he trained under the ProKick Australia academy which gave him an avenue to junior college in the States.
“To think just a few years ago I had my scaffold belt on playing local footy is insane,” he said.
“It’s been a lot of hard work, a lot of sacrifice and a lot of tough going, so I’m just really thankful to Miami for giving me the opportunity and now I want to repay the faith.”
How a guy working construction and playing Australian rules football not that long ago is now going to be the Hurricanes' new punter ... your inside story on Louis Hedley landing an offer and becoming a Cane commit today - https://t.co/CIvZp09Jrmpic.twitter.com/QiIeYaI048— CaneSport (@CaneSport) November 5, 2018
Hedley’s Twitter account has been inundated with messages of welcome and support from Miami fans since he announced his commitment to the team, which is crying out for a quality punter to help them regain momentum in the ACC Coastal division.
“I’m definitely feeling the love,” he said.
“I’m also feeling a bit of pressure coming into a team where the fans are so invested, but I love that, I need that drive and competitiveness to make me better.
“I’m so excited to be part of such a prestigious program and I just can’t wait to get started.”
Playing at the City College of San Francisco this past season, Hedley punted 45 times with an average of 38.6 yards, but more impressively landed 20 balls within the opponent’s 20-yard line and recorded a 59-yard boomer for his longest punt.
His numbers would be an immediate upgrade to the Hurricanes, and he’s a high chance to be the starting punter when he joins the team next June.
“From what I can tell Miami want big spiral punts and that’s something I’m looking forward to,” he said.
“The more we can pin the opposition back the better, so I’m pretty eager to get into it and help this team.”
Hedley’s first look at the University of Miami will come next month, when he tours the school’s facilities and meets his new team.