The Texas Longhorns career of junior punter Michael Dickson will end after the Texas Bowl against the Missouri Tigers, the school announced on Thursday, as Dickson will forgo his senior season to declare for the 2018 NFL Draft.
Dickson released the following statement about his time in Austin:
Coming to play football for The University of Texas has been the greatest experience of my life. I am so thankful for Coach Strong giving me an opportunity back in 2015. Texas has helped lead me in the direction I want to be as a person. I have built an undeniable bond with my teammates that will last forever. I truly consider all of you my brothers.
The Texas fans have showed me so much more love than I ever expected. To be able to see and hear the appreciation from the fans each week is something that I genuinely cherish. I'm so grateful for what this country has provided me and feel as though Texas has adopted me as one of their own. I'm proud to be a Texan.
After long consideration and long talks with loved ones, I'd like to announce that I will be forgoing my senior year and will be declaring for the NFL Draft. I will be wearing the burnt orange and white one last time as we take on Missouri in the Texas Bowl. I am excited for the opportunities that lie ahead and know that I will forever be a Texas Longhorn. I'd like to thank Coach Herman and the current staff for a great year. Thanks for understanding and supporting me throughout my decision-making process.
Once an unknown former Aussie rules football player who drew the attention of Texas at the ProKick Australia academy, Dickson battled inconsistency as a freshman before emerging as one of the nation’s best punters as a sophomore. As a junior, he led college football in average yards per punt and won the Ray Guy Award as the nation’s best punter.
At the tail end of his third season on the 40 Acres, Dickson has taken home back-to-back Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year awards after booting 73 punts for 3,532 yards throughout the 2017 season, which is good for a career-high average of 48.4 yards per punt. With this effort, Dickson is on pace to break the school record he set last season with an average of 47.4 yards per punt.
Dickson became just the second player in conference history to earn Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year honors twice, joining Kansas State’s Tyler Lockett (2013-14).
After proving to be a true field-flipping threat throughout his tenure at Texas, especially during his award-winning junior season, Dickson led the nation in yards per punt and ranked second in total punting yardage. Dickson’s net average of 44.7 yards per punt also leads college football, as well.
In 2017, 34 of his 73 punts traveled at least 50 yards, with 14 reaching 60 yards, including a career-long effort of 76 yards against TCU. More notably, Dickson downed 32 punts inside the 20-yard line, 27 inside the 15, 14 inside the 10 and six within the five-yard line.
His likely replacement is his cousin, Ryan Bujcevski, who unexpectedly signed with Texas on Wednesday and is also a ProKick Australia product.