Former AFL stars with ambitions to land a football scholarship at an American college will be pulling on the pads for Prokick Australia’s second Assessment Combine next month.
The combine – a joint initiative between the AFL Players’ Association and ProKick, to be held on December 4 – will include an analysis of punting technique and will put athletes through catching, punt returning and pass receiving drills, as well as a series of physical tests. It’s a chance for recently transitioned AFL players to test their capabilities in American Football, free of charge.
“My advice to young kids who make the decision early enough is to go to college. You can play college football, get an education and have a shot at playing in the NFL” – Ben Graham
Prokick Australia is the country’s leading punting program and is run by former AFL and Green Bay Packers player Nathan Chapman. A number of athletes under his coaching tenure have ventured overseas to pursue a professional American Football career following his tutelage.
AFL Player’s Association Alumni Manager Brad Fisher says the combine provides an opening into a career pathway that’s filled with opportunity.
“The ability to gain a full college education in the States and to stay involved in elite sport is worth exploring, especially for the younger kids who might want to travel overseas and pursue study abroad,” Fisher said.
Last year’s assessment day saw former players Patrick Veszpremi, Joel Wilkinson, and Josh Growden take part in the combine. After showing plenty of promise in testing, Growden pursued the ProKick program further and now trains three times a week with Chapman and co, with hopes to move to America to pursue a punting career at some point in the future.
Former Brisbane and Port Adelaide player Scott Harding is a former AFL listed player currently overseas as a regular starter for a US college. Harding is now in his fourth (senior) year for the University of Hawaii and is currently third for the team in yards received and first for touchdowns this season. He participates in punting, punt returning, and receiving and he received All-American honours as a freshman in 2011.
— Nathan Chapman (@ProkickAus) November 12, 2014
Former NFL punter AFL player Ben Graham said the opportunity to go off to an American college like Harding is too good not to investigate.
“My advice to young kids who make the decision early enough is to go to college. You can play college football, get an education and have a shot at playing in the NFL.” Graham said.
Details for this year’s combine can be found below. Scroll further to see some of the highlights from last year’s combine.