For Aussie Brad Craddock, kicking crosses two cultures

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Stop if you’ve heard this one before. Brad Craddock’s dreams of playing college football began as a result of a high school research paper.

No, really.

“I did a year 12 assignment in grade 12 on the difference between kicking in Australian rules football and kicking in American football,” the native of Adelaide, Australia, said. “As one of my references, I found my now-coach back home.”

OK, it’s not exactly a typical path. Surely, though, his recruiting process wasn’t like so many of his new Maryland teammates.

Not entirely. Evaluations were done on video. Craddock called several American schools to gauge interest in his kicking and punting. He did it at 3 a.m. to account for the time difference, though only occasionally did someone pick up the phone on the other end.

“It’s just a thing you have to be persistent at if it’s what you want to do,” said Craddock, who estimates he left 20 missed calls with Maryland assistant recruiting coordinator Ryan Steinberg.

All right, but this is a reasonably seamless tale, right? The usual tale of a guy directly moving on from high school to college?

Well, only if a yearlong stint training while stashing away savings from a side job at bus depot counts.

“I got enough there so I can get home again,” Craddock said.

At this point, he shouldn’t be in a rush.

Craddock was not only a late addition to Maryland’s roster, but a needed one as the Terrapins (2-1) have ventured through the opening stages of the season. He’s handled kickoffs and placekicking duties, providing a capable replacement for injured senior Nick Ferrara (hip).

He’s made a pair of field goals, including a 45-yarder that was Maryland’s longest since late in the 2010 season. He’s perfect on five extra-point attempts.

Just as importantly, he’s made himself at home in College Park upon arriving a few days before preseason camp commenced last month.

“He’s a real outgoing guy, so he hasn’t had any conflict with anyone,” punter Nathan Renfro said.

No wonder. In some ways, it’s the ultimate happy-to-be-here saga for a guy who played Australian rules football since he was in second grade.

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