There hadn’t been much rumblings surrounding kickers and punters in the 2017 class, but camp season has afforded the Maryland staff a chance to watch some specialists in action. And at the Terps’ June 11 one-day camp, Jonathan Doerer (South Mecklenburg/Charlotte, N.C.) made the drive up from North Carolina to kick in front of special teams coach Pete Lembo and head coach D.J. Durkin.
“You know, the Maryland coaches and Coach [Walt] Bell, who recruits my area, had been showing interest and talking to me since March, so I felt it would be in my best interest to go to the camp,” said Doerer, who stands 6-feet-3, 190-pounds. “And fortunately it worked out pretty well for me. Coach Lembo was watching me, and then he took six kickers into [Maryland Stadium] to kick in front of Coach Durkin. Afterwards Coach Durkin said I did well, and then [June 25] I gave him a call and found out I had the offer.”
The verbal represented Doerer’s very first power-five scholarship. He also holds an offer from Army, while nearby Clemson and North Carolina have expressed interest.
“The Maryland offer was pretty exciting. It’s something I’d been working for for a long time,” Doerer said. “It’s something where you put the work in and you kind of expect [the offer] to happen, but you never really know. So to get the offer meant a lot to me. It was special.
“I called Coach Durkin and we spoke for about 10 minutes. He said he liked what he saw at the camp, and he liked my athletic ability. He said there’s things I can work on, but he felt I was worthy of a scholarship. I thanked him and told him I was honored.”
Doerer said Durkin spent 15 minutes with him after the camp June 11. Evidently the headman left quite an impression on the Carolina kicker.
“Coach Durkin really puts an emphasis on special teams, which not all teams do. He seems to really understand how important it is, and he has some background in [special teams too],” Doerer said. “He really knows his stuff, so that definitely appeals to me. Playing for a coach that understands that part of the game is very appealing. And he came off as a pretty good guy too; I like him as a person.”
The South Mecklenburg product had compliments for Bell and Lembo too. Doerer said Bell actually came to see him in April during the evaluation period, while the recruit has exchanged plenty of messages with Lembo since June.
“I really like Coach Lembo. He’s good friends with my high school coach, actually, so I knew of him bit just from that,” Doerer said. “My high school coach’s son actually played for Coach Lembo at Elon, so I heard all about [Lembo] before I even met him. But meeting him, he’s a great guy and I feel like he’d be great to play for. Coach Lembo has been a head coach before, and he knows how these things work.
“Then Coach Bell, we haven’t talked as much, but he’s a cool guy too. He’s a younger guy, and I know his offenses are always successful, so I should have plenty of opportunities to kick there.”
While at Maryland, Doerer had a chance to drive around the campus, but he didn’t see as much as he wanted to. Thus, he’ll be returning to College Park, Md., between July 14-31 for a second look.
“I liked the little bit that I saw; it’s a big campus,” Doerer said. “I know Maryland is a pretty good public school, but that’s about it. That’s why I’m going back to learn more and to find out about the academics more too. I’m leaning towards majoring in sports medicine, so I want to find out about that.”
The only other schools Doerer has camped at were UNC and Clemson. Both those programs have expressed interest, but Doerer isn’t sure either will ante up.
So, considering UMD is likely Doerer’s most significant option, could he commit when he sees College Park again?
“I have to see how things play out when I get back up to Maryland, but they are definitely my top school,” Doerer said. “I’ve been talking to them since March and I really like the coaches there. We’ll see how things work out.”
Last year, Doerer was 9 of 16 on field-goal attempts, with a long of 49 yards. He put 90 percent of his kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks. Doerer said he can punt too, but is being recruited only as a kicker.-->