McSparron finds his passion in punting

March 7, 2024 5:00 pm in by
Wade McSparron in action for Geelong Amateur in 2019. (Marcel Berens/Sports Media Image)

Wade McSparron says a “loss for passion” for Australian Rules led him down a path that will see him join a college in the United States on an American Football scholarship.

The 25-year-old former Geelong Amateur and Bell Park defender has signed with the University of Central Florida (UCF) in the Big 12 Conference on a four-year scholarship after impressing in the Prokick Australia punting program.

Playing with the Dragons in 2022, McSparron was encouraged by a couple of local Prokick graduates to make contact with coach Tom Hornsey.

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“I had Joey Couch and Aadyn Sleep-Dalton in my ear to give him a call and just go down for one session,” McSparron said.

“As soon as I went for a session, Hornsey said, ‘Let’s get this started, get you signed up to the program, and see where we can get you’.”

McSparron, who acted as Colac’s runner last year, first picked up the smaller American football in November 2022 before fully committing to the Prokick program the following January.

He admits there was a period of adjustment from more than 20 years of religiously kicking a Sherrin.

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“It took a fair bit of time,” McSparron said. “Every punt is different.

“When you find your own little niche, and you know you can consistently hit it, it becomes quite easy.”

Wade McSparron and his father Rowan in 2021. (Marcel Berens/Sports Media)

Orlando-based UCF, whose current punter is Prokick graduate Mitch McCarthy from Melbourne, first enquired about McSparron last year.

However, discussions between the Knights and the son of Colac GFNL coach Rowan have only stepped up in the past few weeks.

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“The first contact from the coaches would have been about a fortnight of three weeks ago,” McSparron.

“But, hearing that an opportunity could come up there, (that) would have been September last year.”

McSparron will have to bid his time before pulling on a Knights uniform for the first time.

He won’t officially join the roster until the 2025 season, with matches starting in late August/early September.

However, McSparron will experience college life starting in January next year, starting his secondary school physical education degree in the spring semester.

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He will also be able to join in training in preparation for his Freshman season.

“As soon as I get there, sleep off the jetlag, chuck on the boots and get to it,” McSparron said.

In a recent kicking session, McSparron averaged 47-48 yards and 4.8 seconds hang time across 14 punts.

“His leg strength and power coming across from Australian football has never been in question,” Hornsey said.

“The biggest challenge for most boys coming into Prokick is the consistency and being able to do it on call and repetitively.

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“He’s definitely been refining that technique and bringing it down to something that’s consistently putting up good results.

“His test will be doing it on the practice field and then taking it into games, where it ultimately counts.

“I think the preparation he’s doing and what he’s going through right now, and the mentality behind it is really strong.”

X: @krockfootball