Via UT Release
Punter Michael Dickson was selected by the Seattle Seahawks with the 149th pick in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft on Saturday at AT&T Stadium. He is the first punter taken within the top 150 picks in the draft since 2012, when Bryan Anger was taken by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the third round.
“I was shaking when I got the call,” Dickson said. “It didn’t really register. Everything just happened so quickly. (Seattle) was my first choice if I hadn’t been drafted, so to go there, I’m just pumped. I got along really well with the special teams coach and just really love that team. I think they’re a great team, and I want to be able punt for a team like that.”
Dickson becomes the first Longhorn specialist to be drafted since kicker Jeff Ward was drafted in the 11th round of the 1987 NFL Draft. The last UT punter to be drafted was John Goodson in the eighth round of the 1982 draft. Dickson is the highest drafted Longhorn specialist since Russell Erxleben was taken with the 11th overall selection in the 1979 NFL Draft.
“The impact he made from the punter position is truly amazing,” head coach Tom Herman said. “He’s a guy that can absolutely flip the field on every punt. Not only can he kick it 60 or 70 yards with unbelievable hang time but his accuracy and ability to drop punts deep inside opponents’ territory is uncanny. The Seahawks added a special teams weapon who will punt for a long time in the NFL.”
Dickson, a native of Sydney, Australia, had an incredible three-year punting career for the Longhorns. His career was capped in 2017 by winning the prestigious Ray Guy Award, given annually to the nation’s best punter. Dickson was also a unanimous first team All-American, the Big 12 Conference Special Teams Player of the Year, first team All-Big 12 and the Most Valuable Player in the Texas Bowl.
“The GM called me and they said they were going to select me and they had traded up to get me,” Dickson continued. “I couldn’t even really comprehend it at all. I was just going along with the flow of the conversation and it was all sinking in. Then it came on the TV 10 minutes later and it was surreal.”
Playing in all 13 games in 2017, he punted 84 total times with 42 (50%) of punts being downed inside the 20. In his final two games as a Longhorn, Dickson downed 17-of-20 punts, including 10-of-11 in the Texas Bowl, inside the 20. He had 36 punts of more than 50 yards as a senior, while 33 punts were fair caught with just eight touchbacks.
“To the Texas fans and my teammates and coaches, thanks for supporting me, thanks for hyping me up each week and giving me the juice I needed, giving me the confidence I needed,” said Dickson. “I don’t think I would have been able to have that confidence and the results I had without your support each week.
“The last couple of years have flown by. It doesn’t really feel like it’s been that long, it just feels like it’s been jammed together in excitement. It’s the best years of my life that I’ve had. I’ve made some of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I never thought it would have been like this.”
Dickson finished his career as Texas’ all-time leader in punting average at 45.32 yards per punt. He punted a school-record 226 times in three seasons for a school-record 10,242 total yards. In 2017, he set school records for punts (84) and yards (3,984) and matched his school-record by averaging 47.4 yards per punt. He helped the Longhorns’ punt team to an NCAA-best 44.2 yards per punt net average.
He did not just burst on to the scene with a good season in 2017, however, as Dickson was UT’s first-ever finalist for the Ray Guy Award in 2016 as a sophomore. Dickson was also named the Big 12 Conference Special Teams Player of the Year and first team All-Big 12 during his sophomore campaign in which he also averaged 47.4 yards per punt. Of his 65 punts as a sophomore, 28 were downed inside the 20 and 25 were more than 50 yards.
“My parents were very emotional and very excited,” Dickson said. “It’s not sinking in for them or for me yet, to be honest. They woke up at 2 a.m. to watch and I don’t think they’re going back to sleep because they said they have too much energy, so they’ll be up all day. Being able to go to a team in a city a little closer to Australia on the west coast will make a big difference.”
Studying business in the prestigious McCombs School of Business, Dickson was named Academic All-Big 12 First Team in 2017 and was also a four-time member of the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll. He is the son of Lily Baum and his stepfather is Stephen Baum.
Longhorn NFL Draft Notables
*The Longhorns four selections in the 2018 NFL Draft were the most among programs in the state of Texas and tied for the most in the Big 12 Conference.
*Texas has had 341 players selected in its draft history. The Longhorns entered the draft with the 11th-most selections all-time.
*There have been 44 UT players selected in the first round. Three (Tommy Nobis, 1966; Earl Campbell, 1978; and Kenneth Sims, 1982) have been selected first overall.
*The Longhorns set an NFL record when at least one player was taken in 76 consecutive drafts (1938-2013).
*Texas holds the record for most players taken in a single draft, with 17 going in 1984.
*Connor Williams is the first Longhorn offensive lineman drafted since Tony Hills in 2008.
*Williams is the first Longhorn drafted by the Dallas Cowboys since Geoff Swaim in the seventh round of the 2015 draft.
*Malik Jefferson is the first Longhorn linebacker selected since Jordan Hicks in 2015. He is the highest linebacker selected since Derrick Johnson in 2005.
*Jefferson is the first player drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals since Jordan Shipley in the third round of the 2010 draft.
*Michael Dickson is the first Longhorn specialist drafted since Jeff Ward (kicker) in the 11th round of the 1987 draft. He is the first UT punter drafted since John Goodson in 1982 and the highest specialist drafted since Russell Erxleben in the first round of the 1979 draft.
*Dickson is the first Longhorn drafted by the Seattle Seahawks since Earl Thomas in the first round of the 2010 draft.
*Dickson is the highest drafted punter since Bryan Anger was drafted in the third round of the 2012 draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
*DeShon Elliott is the first Longhorn safety since Mykkelle Thompson in 2015 to be drafted.
*Elliott is the first UT player drafted by the Baltimore Ravens since Chykie Brown in 2011.