In 2012, Wade Lees was a promising young Aussie Rules football prospect who had just declared for the AFL Draft. Then he was hit with an 18-month ban two years after ordering a product with a banned steroid online from the US. Now, at 27, he's the next punter at Maryland.
College teams like Utah, LSU and Maryland have had success with Aussie specialists before, and Lees is an even better prospect than usual. Resident SB Nation Australian James Dator, on how Lees compares to other recent Australian punters:
We've seen former high school Aussie Rules stars like Tom Hackett and Brad Wing dominate college punting, but neither were as accomplished before making the jump as Lees.Wing was cut from his juniors team and never made it to seniors. Hackett played in HS but never even made it to juniors.
Lees was a star player in the Victorian Football League, playing great footy for the Casey Scorpions and had just declared for the AFL Draft when he got banned for PEDs. Many believed he was not only going to successfully make the jump to the AFL, but that he could be a star.
Lees has trained with ProKick Australia, an organization that produced former star Memphis punter Tom Hornsey, among others. Here's Lees punting the everloving cuss out of a ball.
2016 class @WL_88 pic.twitter.com/2fyNC7DfVb— Nathan Chapman (@ProkickAus) December 10, 2015