Yoon excited for signing day

With National Signing Day approaching fast, kicker Justin Yoon is looking ahead to enrolling at Notre Dame in June. He credits Brian Kelly and Scott Booker for helping him already feel part of the program.

An injury shortened Justin Yoon’s senior season to just three games, but the 5-foot-11, 183-pounder from Milton Academy in Massachusetts made up for lost time by showcasing his skills in the Under Armour All-America Game.

Yoon booted three fields, including a record 47-yarder. Combined with the fact Yoon had never played in front of more than a handful of spectators, the all-star experience amplified his excitement to get to South Bend.

 “It was definitely a confidence booster,” Yoon said. “I was there for that reason, to prove myself to ND and also to use it as a confidence booster. I’ve never played in front of that many people. The most I ever got was 100 or 150. Being able to play in front of around 25,000 really changed everything in my outlook. My worries, I don’t really have concerns, the only thing I feel worried about is getting into the atmosphere.”

With National Signing Day rapidly approaching, Yoon is eager to send off his National Letter of Intent and looking forward to landing at Notre Dame in June.

“It’s finally come to that day,” Yoon said. “I’m definitely excited. I can’t wait until it comes.”

Snow days and exams have left a bit of uncertainty as to when Yoon actually will send off his NLI but he’s hoping to squeeze that ceremony into his school day at some point.

Any delay in faxing the paperwork shouldn’t stress anyone inside the Guglielmino Athletics Complex.

Yoon carefully weighed his options and selected the Irish based on Notre Dame’s balance between academics and athletics, as well as its welcoming family atmosphere.

“It was a tough decision,” Yoon said. “It was nerve-wracking and a fun experience getting out to see the different colleges and to see the next four years where I’m going to be at. I saw colleges like Stanford and Northwestern and Harvard, Boston College, but ultimately I felt very comfortable being around Notre Dame. That’s the reason why I chose it. I feel like it’s a part of my family.”

Yoon chose Notre Dame over Stanford, Northwestern and Harvard last summer. Ever since the Irish coaching staff has done its part to confirm Yoon made the right choice.

“It’s been great,” Yoon said. “I’ve been talking to my special teams coach every week, sometimes twice a week. It’s a great experience. Coach (Brian) Kelly came by for an in-home visit. I’m at a boarding school so it’s not my home but he still came and visited me. That was awesome. I definitely feel I’m part of the family and I’m ready to get in there.”

Kelly visited Milton Academy on Jan. 19 and spent time with Yoon discussing football, life and current events.

Most importantly, he made Yoon feel like part of the family.

“It was great,” Yoon said. “I was able to see him and talk to him. Being able to listen to him and being able to be around him was really a good thing for me. I felt like he had that responsibility to take care of me as a family member and as a player. I’m definitely grateful.”

Between developing friendships within the football team and learning the ins and outs of being a Notre Dame student-athlete, Yoon knows just how challenging those first few months will be.

“The plan is to come in in June and while they’re starting the summer camp I’m going to do the same,” he said. “I’m going to try and get used to the atmosphere. I’ve got to find the guys and be able to become the best teammate with them and just be able to become a part of the family. I’m looking forward to that.”

He’s also looking forward to committing himself to the strength and conditioning program.

Although Yoon said he’s close to 100 percent, the back injury that cut short his senior season continues to impact his training.

“It’s kind of lingering but I’m pretty much all set and all healthy,” he said. “The only difference I see is on my kickoffs. I can feel the difference in how I’m not able to kick as far as I used to be. That just comes with time. Hopefully I can come back and get that all fixed up by all the strength and conditioning I do at Notre Dame.”

As a senior, Yoon recorded seven touchbacks on 15 kickoffs. He went 3-for-4 on field goals and 9-for-9 on extra points.

He’s been working hard in the off-season to fine tune his kicking technique and has plans to quickly work his new holders and snappers into his routine.

“I’ve always just gone to practice and done my own thing,” he said. “It’s really rare to find a kicking coach but I coach myself up and I get my holders and snappers and try to fix them up as well. That’s part of my job I guess, is being able to know my position well and my other positions that help me. It’s a team thing. I get to practice with the team for a bit getting the field goals and extra points to get the timing down and afterwards it’s all on me kicking and going to lift afterwards.”

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