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Texas K Cameron Dicker declares for the 2022 NFL Draft

The school leader in points by a kicker and career field goals made is turning pro.

NCAA Football: Oklahoma at Texas Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

With a confident smile, a nod, and one of the most clutch field goals in recent school history, Cameron Dicker only needed six games to cement his status as one of the most memorable Texas Longhorns kickers, hitting from 40 yards in the Cotton Bowl to defeat the Oklahoma Sooners in 2018.

On Wednesday, Dicker officially ended his storied Texas career by declaring for the 2022 NFL Draft.

“Words cannot express how thankful I am for Longhorn Football, The University of Texas, and the City of Austin. To my coaches, professors, teammates, and fans, thank you for your support. There is nothing like the pride and loyalty of The University of Texas and of being a Longhorn. The Forty Acres has given me so much more than just a college football career and one of the best educations in the nation, it has given me an extended family that bleeds Burnt Orange.

“The decision to stay one more year has weighed heavy on my heart, but after careful consideration and prayer, I have decided to forgo my extra year of eligibility and declare for the NFL draft. Saying goodbye to Texas is a decision that has been difficult and is one that I would not choose if I wasn’t confident that God is ready to use me in this next chapter.

“Coming to Texas, I could never have imagined I’d be leaving holding the records of all-time field goals made and most points scored by a Texas kicker, as well as third in all-time points scored. I am humbled and honored by these accomplishments given all the great players who came before me.

“I am so proud to have represented Texas as your kicker these last four years. I love this university and I love Longhorn Nation. The Forty Acres will always be home to me.”

A standout at Lake Travis, Dicker was recruited by former head coach Tom Herman in the 2018 recruiting class to end a post-Justin Tucker stretch of kickers that largely struggled. Remember Nick Rose missing the game-tying extra point to tie that wild loss against Cal in 2015? How about Charlie Strong publicly pleading for someone to send him a kicker, as if it wasn’t his responsibility to fix the problem? He ended up with LSU graduate transfer Trent Domingue, who went on to miss four extra points and seven field goals in 2016. In Herman’s first season, Joshua Rowland was even less accurate than Domingue, making only 11-of-18 attempts.

So the confident smile and nod from Dicker only made his calm kick against Oklahoma all the more important for Texas — it signaled a potential long-term end to all those kicking problems, and Dicker delivered, leaving his name littered around the school record books.

Even though Dicker gave up his final season of eligibility, he leaves the Forty Acres after four years as the school career points leader for a kicker, scoring 386 points in 49 games, the third-most among any players in Texas history. His 60 field goals are first in school history and his 206 extra points rank second. Dicker leaves the Longhorns having made his final 12 field goals in burnt orange and white, the fourth-longest streak in the Texas record books.

Dicker the Kicker had plenty of leg, too, hitting four field goals of 50 or more yards, sixth-most among Longhorns, including a 57-yarder against Rice in 2019 that ranks as the seventh-longest field goal in school history.

And, of course, he was clutch — in addition to the game-winning kick in the Cotton Bowl on one of the biggest stages in college football, he made walk-off field goals against Kansas State and Kansas in 2019 on consecutive weeks.

In 2021, Dicker didn’t have a chance to make any game-winning field goals, but he turned in perhaps his most impressive all-around season. He made 86.7 percent of his field goals, fourth-best in school history, and tied the single-game record for extra points made (10) and attempted (10) in the blowout win over Texas Tech. Against TCU, his four field goals made came within one of tying the school single-game record.

Dicker’s leg strength also made him a consistent presence on kickoffs throughout his career, but as a senior he also took over punting duties full time after Ryan Bucjevski was injured late in the 2020 season and wasn’t healthy during spring practice. To the surprise of no one, Dicker was good at punting, too, averaging 46.8 yards per punt, third-best in school history, including 16 punts of 50 or more yards. Kicks of 77 yards against Oklahoma and 78 yards against Oklahoma State rank as the fifth-longest and sixth-longest punts in school history.

Displaying that versatility wasn’t enough for Dicker to win the Ray Guy Award in 2021 — he finished as a semifinalist — but it could help him become one of the rare kickers actually selected in the NFL Draft. Even if Dicker doesn’t hear his name called, he has a strong chance of landing on an active roster as an undrafted free agent and will go down as one of the best kickers in school history regardless of what happens in his professional career.

And that’s worth a respectful nod of acknowledgement from the burnt orange faithful.