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Austrailian Punter Hudson Kaak Details Transition to Stillwater, Football

‘I go online and like Google it, and the rant is the first thing that came up.’



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

STILLWATER — When Oklahoma State reached out to Hudson Kaak, he had some Googling to do.

Kaak is a part of the growing lineage of punters trained by ProKick Australia transferring his talents from Australian-rules football to American football. When OSU reached out, Kaak said his manager glowingly told him Mike Gundy was the coach.

“I go online and like Google it, and the [‘I’m a man, I’m 40’] rant is the first thing that came up,” Kaak said. “I’m like, ‘Damn, this is pretty cool.'”

Kaak eventually got a visit set up with OSU, coming into Stillwater for the OSU-Texas game in 2022. The Cowboys were 5-1 at that point in the year, and it was homecoming. The Longhorns led 34-24 with a minute to play in the third quarter before OSU stormed back to win 41-34. It was on that trip Kaak said he knew he wanted to go to OSU.

Less than a year later, Kaak was on the field playing in his first football game. His first career punt came in the second quarter of OSU’s 27-13 win against Central Arkansas this past season. But whereas all of his teammates had at least played a game at the high school level, that was the first time Kaak took the field for an American football game in any capacity. It was a 29-yard boot that pinned the Bears at their 15. He came out again in the third quarter and pinned UCA at its 5-yard line with a 37-yard punt.

He finished his first season of American football having punted 38 times, averaging 39.7 yards. He was one of six Big 12 punters to pin a team inside its 20 on 20 occasions, and he did that while recording only one touchback and splitting time with Wes Pahl, who punted 27 times last season.

“It’s a weird thought to think that my first snap in football ever was in front of 50, 60,000 people and everyone watching on TV and that sort of thing,” Kaak said. “It was kinda nerve-racking. In thinking back to it, I don’t think I realized the extent that the volume of people that would’ve been paying attention to it at the time. But everyone was super supportive of me, and I was able to get some good reps in practice and stuff.

“I think, honestly, the most nerve-racking punt was in the Big 12 game — the championship game. It was so loud in there, and I think we were like 12 seconds into the game because our first drive wasn’t great. But, it was really cool.”

While settling into a new life in a new land, Kaak started a “Trick Shot Tuesday” series on his social media where he does various challenges kicking a football around campus. In one he is in the upper portion of Gallagher-Iba Arena and punts a ball through the basket. In another he blindfolds himself and kicks a ball into a net.

Kaak said he is loving every minute of his college football journey to this point — perhaps aside from all the deadly spider and kangaroo questions that follow him around.

“I’ve been here for 18 months now, and I still get every day, like, ‘Oh, what about the bugs and the spiders? Have you ever almost died?’ Kaak said. “Or like, ‘Do you ride your kangaroos?’ All that sort of stuff. I’m just like, ‘No.’ …

“I think, respectively, there’s a bit of a stereotype that there’s a lot of arrogance and kind of rude people and stuff in America. I can’t speak for the whole of America, but from where I am, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Everyone’s so nice and had nothing but time for me. They’ve been super supportive of me ever since I got here.”

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