Meet Dominic Panazzolo, Texas Tech’s Ambidextrous Australian Punter
Being in Australia and then Utah before making the journey to Lubbock, Dominic Panazzolo gave some insight to what he thinks got him to Texas Tech.
"I think without the two JUCO years I wouldn't be here, getting 2nd team All-American my Sophomore year," he said. "It showed that I was good enough to play in the Big 12 and in DI football."
On what got him introduced to football, Panazzolo said that a family member showed him American football and after watching a college football game he was hooked.
"When I was 13, my dad actually introduced me to American football, and the first game I watched was LSU and Florida," Panazzolo said. " I told myself if football (Australian rules) never works out, I wanna go and play American Football."
Coming from the rules in Australia, Panazzolo said that the one bit that he didn't miss was the running during the game.
"I would have to run like five or six miles a game and that was the worst part," he said, adding: "Punting is perfect because I just have to kick a ball four or five times down the field and would just have to run off to the sideline, so it seemed like a perfect job."
Accuracy is one of the biggest assets in Panazzolo's game and growing up kicking a ball since the age of four has perfected his technique. "You guys grew up throwing the ball to each other, and we would kick the ball to each other growing up." He even threw out a challenge to the Quarterback. "I'll happily take on Nic Shimonek in a kicking/throwing competition," he said.
Just like a switch-hitter hitting from both sides of the plate in baseball, Panazzolo is able to boot the ball from either foot. "In Australian football our coach would pull us off the field if we used our right foot to kick... so I quickly learned to kick with my left foot. It's become natural now so I can rely on any foot to kick." He then talked about how their might be some scenarios where he uses a different foot to kick. "We're developing a playbook which has all that kind of stuff in it."
Dominic Panazzolo is going to be one of those punters that could change a lot of things for Tech and make life easier for the defense if he is effective. Depending on what he has in store in the playbook he could also be a headache for coaches trying to decide how to plan on special teams.
Either way, we are really excited to see what our Aussie can do on the field.
2017 Texas Tech Media Day Interviews