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Damon Greaves signs with University of Kansas, Aussie college football punters, ex-Hawthorn player, latest news

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Former Hawthorn defender Damon Greaves has joined ex-teammate Jackson Ross at the top level of college football, signing on to punt for the University of Kansas.

Greaves officially signed with the Jayhawks, who compete in the Big 12 conference, on Thursday morning.

The former rookie draftee played 10 games for Hawthorn across the 2019-21 seasons, then spending a year with East Perth in the WAFL before making a bid to join the many Aussies starring in gridiron.

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Greaves becomes the second ex-Hawk to enter the top level of college football’s punting ranks. Jackson Ross, who spent three years on the Hawthorn list without a senior debut, signed with the University of Tennessee last year.

Both Kansas and Tennessee are schools in one of the five ‘power conferences’, made up of 68 schools who sign the best players and almost always make up the contenders for the national championship.

Josh Bruce of the Bulldogs and Damon Greaves of the Hawks in a 2020 game. (Photo by Matt Turner/AFL Photos via Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

They are part of a growing group of ex-AFL players dreaming of making the NFL after getting a US college education, with former Collingwood player Flynn Appleby punting for New Jersey’s Rutgers University – though this past season he was the back-up for Ray Guy Award winner and compatriot Adam Korsak.

In 2019 former Fremantle player Max Duffy won the Ray Guy Award, given to the best punter of the college football season, as the influence of groups like ProKick Australia continues to spread.

Aussies competed at the top level of the sport in 2022 with three of the four College Football Playoff teams having one at punter – Ohio State’s Jesse Mirco from Western Australia, and Victorian pair Brett Thorson (eventual champions Georgia) and Jordy Sandy (TCU).

Iowa-via-Melbourne’s Tory Taylor was an All-American while Mason Fletcher (Cincinnati) and Max Fletcher (Arkansas), the sons of Essendon great Dustin, faced off in an early season game.

In the NFL, former St Kilda player Arryn Siposs is hoping to return from injury to punt for Philadelphia in the Super Bowl, after his Eagles defeated Mitch Wishnowsky’s 49ers in the NFC Championship game.

Seattle’s Michael Dickson and Houston’s Cameron Johnston also punt at the elite level.

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