KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — There are some critical spots to fill within Tennessee’s special teams.
For the first time in over a decade, the Vols will have to name a new kicker and punter in the same season.
One of the guys in the conversation to replace last year’s starting punter, Paxton Brooks, is Jackson Ross. In his second year with the Vols, the Australian native is more adjusted to living in America. The professional experience he brought from playing Australian Rules Football has aided in the comfortability he’s found within the team.
“He’s a tremendous leader, think about this, it’s really interesting, when you’re in Australia and you’re in high school you aspire to get drafted out of high school to play Australian Rules Football and there are two levels, there’s like an NFL level and then there’s kind of like a minor league level. Well, he got drafted by the NFL level and played for three years, so he’s been a professional. You know he’s been in that arena, he’s played in front of 100,000s people, so he goes out in Neyland, and he’s like yeah this is pretty cool, it’s kind of what I’m used to,” said Outside Linebackers/Special Teams Coordinator Mike Ekeler.
Ross said it’s the people back home that he misses the most, his friends and his family. If the punter is ever homesick, there’s definitely one place that he isn’t turning to. Ross jokingly talked about how Outback Steakhouse has absolutely nothing to do with Australia.