A YEAR ago, Hamish MacInnes was in the thick of VCE studies at Ballarat Grammar School.
He had not long finished a pivotal role in the school’s football campaign, which saw Grammar reach the MCC-Herald Sun Country Shield grand final.
But this was not the former North Ballarat under-16.5 best and fairest’s only sporting focus in 2011.
He was also working hard developing his skills as an American football punter with the hope of one day carving out a professional sporting career in the United States.
There is still a long way to go, but so far everything is falling into place for the Ballarat 18-year-old.
MacInnes has become the latest in a growing line of Australians to join college punting ranks.
The freshman has debuted for Jacksonville State University in front 72,000 fans.
In his first full-fledged game at any level, the recruit from Down Under had six punts, averaging 37 yards with a hang time of 4.5 seconds.
MacInnes began his quest to become a college punter several years ago.
His mother Sue said the idea was sparked when Hamish came across the Melbourne-based Oz Punt’s website when he was in year 10.
“He thought he would pay $110 and have a term of trying out learning to punt. He came away from that camp with a dream to get a scholarship in the States and even to play NFL,” she said.
It all began to come together in January this year when he visited the US for a national camp for prospective recruits.
MacInnes, who was a Mt Blowhard Primary School pupil before going to Grammar, caught the eye of Jacksonville scouts, did a trial and landed a full scholarship to study exercise science, and of course be a punter in what is almost a 100-strong squad.