Wolfpack punter from Down Under talks about adjusting to America

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The last seven Ray Guy Award winners all came from Prokick Australia and NC State's Mackenzie Morgan is hoping to add to the list of successful Australian punters.

The first time Morgan ever went to a football game he was running out of the tunnel at Carter-Finley Stadium.

"I went out to the sideline and I said to Coach McDonald I was just laughing," Morgan said. "I felt like I was going to trip out of the smoke. Luckily, I stayed and I kept my feet but I went out to the sideline and Coach McDonald was like, why are you laughing, and I was like, man I can't believe this."

Morgan grew up in Perth, Western Australia, and always wanted to be a professional Footy player but after two knee injuries, he had to give up the sport.

He didn't want that to be the end.

Morgan became a plumber in 2014 and worked for a few years until March of 2017 when he realized he wanted more.

He sent a video of himself to Prokick Australia and that same month ended up moving 2,000 miles away from his home to Melbourne to start his journey as a punter.

"I just thought to myself, what do I have to lose?" he said. "Yeah, I had hurt my knee a couple times but I didn't think there was anything that had restricted my kicking or anything so I thought why not just give them a call and see how it went."

In December of 2017, just nine months after he began punting, NC State called.

"I was like, you're talking about the one where Russell Wilson went right? He was like 'oh yeah,'" Morgan said. "Then John who is the other coach at Pro Kick Australia was like, yeah, of course it's where Russell Wilson went, and I said let's do it."

That August, eight months later, Morgan was on a flight to Raleigh.

After 35 hours of travel, it was time to get to work.

"I said, 'I'm here,'" Morgan said. "I said look for the most tired bloke in the airport and bloke is a word for guy. He told me later that he thought that was the funniest thing he'd ever heard because he had to Google what bloke was."

Morgan soon realized living in America was going to be an adjustment.

"In terms of socially, I felt like I couldn't fit in. They'd all say, hey what's going on," he said. "They'd give me all these different handshakes and I was like what's going on here. I felt like I was dislocating my fingers every time I met someone."

Now a year later, after a lot of help from his teammates, specifically former Pack punter AJ Cole, Morgan is battling for the starting role this fall.

"I don't know what I would have done even in the last six months without AJ," Morgan said. "Even though he hasn't even been here that's how close we are. Hopefully, if everything keeps going the way it is I think that it will all look after itself."
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