Texas A&M’s punter from down under makes a name for himself
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - In October of 2018, Melbourne, Australia native Nik Constantinou decided that football, specifically punting, could be his path to getting a degree in the United States.
Constantinou was introduced to a program called “Prokick Australia” by a friend. According to their website, the program trains Australian athletes to perform at the college and NFL level.
Constantinou put his trust in his coaches in hopes of getting a scholarship to play in the U.S.. While he didn’t know what it meant at the time, he was told he was good enough to play in the S.E.C.
“Long story short, through a few facetime calls and sending film over to A&M here, Coach Fisher then offered me a full scholarship to study and play football here at Texas A&M University,” said Constantinou. “I accepted the scholarship and came up here and it was the best decision I’ve made so far.”
After officially becoming a member of the maroon and white, Constantinou faced massive changes, not only the time zone but how he punted.
“The hardest part was obviously learning the sport but also changing the type of kicking we do. For us it’s all in the move, all we do is running and kicking. We have to change that to a 2-step or 3-step kick,” Constantinou explained.
After his impressive performance against New Mexico, Constantinou was named the SEC Special Teams player of the week. A huge accomplishment for someone who learned how to play a few years ago.
This recognition does not surprise Head Coach Jimbo Fisher, he believes Constantinou’s commitment to begin part of something greater than himself allows the punter to find success.
“Come up here on an off-season day and I go workout in the gym or weight room by myself, he’ll be in there lifting. You drive by, you see balls booming up from the field you drive by. … You’ll be taking somebody by saying ‘I’d like to see the stadium’, walk in there, Nik’s standing in the stadium. It’s like I don’t know if he knows when I come and does it on purpose,” said Fisher. “He is just a workaholic, he’s lifting, he’s running, he’s kicking. I mean, just something constantly, developing his game day in and day out.”
Even with the recent success, the distance from home has not been easy for the Aussie, especially with his home country being on lockdown due to COVID-19.
“It’s very hard. I got my mom, dad, brother, girlfriend, grandparents home. They are dying to come up here. It does suck but there’s not much we can do about it, everything’s shut down,,” said Constantinou. “If its an 11 o’clock game here it’s 2 a.m. there, they’ll wake up for it ... I’ve got the greatest support crew at home.”
This is more than just a game to Nik, it is an opportunity and the punter from down under is determine to make the most out of his time as an Aggie.
“I wanted to come up here with the intention in mind to give it my all,” exclaimed the sophomore punter. “I don’t want to waste the 4 years of this opportunity that I have. … Experiencing something like this is, I can’t even put words to describe how amazing it is here so I think it’s the best place in America for sure.”
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