The talent Ohio State football brings to Columbus each year isn't always from the fifty United States.
Take Australian punter Jesse Mirco, for example. Just because football typically refers to a different sport in the Land Down Under doesn’t mean it’s an afterthought to Aussies.
Mirco told members of the media Wednesday that he’d been punting since he was four years old. He and his brothers used to pass the ball by punting it to each other, which Mirco said strengthened his ability to aim the ball during a punt.
“Coach (Parker) Fleming tells me what he wants done and I try to do it to the best of my ability, and we hope for the best,” Mirco said.
Mirco said he works with Buckeye alum Cameron Johnston, a fellow Aussie kicker, whenever he can. Johnston’s career is something Mirco wishes to emulate.
“He did a lot here and had a great career here as well, “Mirco said, “So if I can get anywhere near Cam's career I'll be pretty happy.”
Mirco was brought from Fremantle to Columbus partially to serve as a replacement for Drew Chrisman, who was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Cincinnati Bengals this summer.
Mirco is 24 years old, so he's obviously much older than most freshmen. However, being one of the oldest freshmen on the roster is only one of the adjustments Mirco has been forced to make playing in the States.
“I’d never experienced a football practice till day one of Spring,” Mirco said, “That was a bit of a shock and it's all a bit different.”
The adjustments to life in America haven’t been all football related. Mirco has learned to drive and even developed a love for American food, especially macaroni and cheese.
“We get a lot of mac and cheese here which is pretty good,” Mirco said.
Mirco’s understanding of football is similar to his opinion of college football in Australia: constantly growing.
One thing that is certain to the punter as he advances along his journey is he made the right choice in Ohio State.
“It’s a pretty easy decision to come play football here,” Mirco said, “(it’s) definitely lived up to my expectations.”
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