Sam on right path to the big league

BENDIGO and central Victoria has closely followed the basketball exploits of former Braves' junior Matthew Dellavedova for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA since October.

But could we soon be cheering on another local in big-time American sport - the National Football League?

Could we soon be cheering on another local in big-time American sport

That's the goal of former Eaglehawk and Bendigo Pioneer Sam Irwin-Hill, who has swapped the Sherrin for the American football and is marking his mark at division one College level with the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Irwin-Hill is the classic example of just what can happen if you're prepared to take a "punt" on a dream, like he did when he moved to America in 2011.

Irwin-Hill's dream is to be a punter in the NFL - an ambition that no doubt would have received a few raised eyebrows from his Bendigo mates several years ago after forgoing a promising Aussie Rules career to take up gridiron.

Now, Irwin-Hill is one strong season away with the Razorbacks from a potential berth on an NFL roster.

It's still a long and tough road ahead for Irwin-Hill in his final College season this year, but as 2013 showed with his Ray Guy Award nomination, which honours America's best College punters, he's on the right track to achieving his NFL dream.

However, regardless of what happens on NFL draft day next year, Irwin-Hill's story should inspire people in all walks of life not to be afraid to have a go at something new.

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