Cameron Johnston may be a long way from his hometown of Geelong, Australia, but the fourth-year punter has found a home with the Houston Texans.
A former Melbourne pro footballer, Johnston found a path to the NFL with his training and powerful leg. On March 30, the Texans signed Johnston as a free agent.
"Cameron Johnston, man, what a tremendous talent," Special Teams Coordinator Frank Ross said. "What a special player. Young player in his own – maybe not in age, but young player to the game of football. So, just having such versatility coming out of Ohio State, having that Australian football rules background brings such an increased amount of versatility."
Selected by the Melbourne Football Club in the 2011 AFL rookie draft, Johnston later trained for a career in U.S. football with former Australian soccer player and NFL punter Nathan Chapman.
Johnston earned a spot on Ohio State's roster where he played four seasons (2013-16) under Head Coach Urban Meyer. In his first two seasons, he led all Big Ten punters with a 44.0 and 45.1 yard punting average, respectively. After earning an invitation to the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine, Johnston signed with the Philadelphia Eagles and saw action in all 16 games from 2018-2020.
"Powerful young man, powerful leg, both in the weight room and it translates to the field," Ross said. "His ability to use that in multiple ways is a tremendous asset to the punt unit."
In 2018, Johnston set single-season franchise records in gross punting average (48.1) and net punting average (42.7), ranking third and fourth in the NFL in those categories. Johnston, who made his playoff debut in 2018, recorded five punts for 241 yards (48.2 average) with three punts inside the 20-yard line in the NFC Divisional Round game at New Orleans.
Last season, Johnston finished fourth in the NFL in both punting yards (3,318) and net punting yards (2,924) while tying for sixth in the league in punts inside the 20-yard line (26).
The Texans hit the Houston Methodist Training Center on Wednesday during the third week of OTAs.