Irish A-to-Z: Jonathan Doerer

Doerer has length, a big leg and a level of athleticism that was too good for Notre Dame to pass up, particularly with Yoon’s health issues this spring.

Position: Kicker:

National Ranking: Doerer's highest ranking came from, which placed him No. 6 nationally. listed Doerer No. 17 while ranked him No. 20.

Irish Illustrated Rank: Placed last in the 21-man freshman class, which is more of a reflection of his position than his ability.

Likelihood of Freshman Red-shirt: Low


There's a good chance Doerer will be on the field for Notre Dame's first kickoff in the Sept. 2 season/home-opener against Temple.

Brian Kelly removed Tyler Newsome from kickoff duties last year due to accuracy issues, putting the burden on placekicker Justin Yoon. The end result was a leg-fatigued Yoon by the end of the '16 season that led to his shutdown this spring. Walk-on Sam Kohler emerged as a viable option in the spring on placekicks, but is not expected to be a candidate for kickoffs.

Add it all up and – until noted otherwise – Doerer is the leading candidate to handle kickoffs when the 2017 season commences.


On signing day, there was more talk about Jonathan Doerer the kickoff man than the field-goal kicker. He certainly has enough leg for the job, but he'll have to improve his placekicking accuracy after missing seven of 16 field-goal attempts during his senior season at South Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte, N.C. Doerer's longest field goal was 44 yards.

With a healthy Yoon, a junior, the earliest Doerer should seriously contend for placekicking duties is the 2019 season, unless Yoon struggles and Doerer proves a more viable option than Kohler.


Doerer's length (6-foot-3), star-ranking (3) and overall ranking (No. 6) are almost exactly the numbers attached to 2007 freshman kicker Brandon Walker (No. 5), although Walker also was known as a punter.

The Irish needed Walker from the outset with the departure of Carl Gioia following the 2006 season. Doerer should only have to handle kickoffs unless Yoon doesn't return to full health.


"We weren't necessarily looking for (a kicker), but he just jumped out at us. Somebody with his numbers, his ability, his length (at) 6-foot-3…an extremely gifted athlete. We were looking for somebody that could take over the kickoff duties for us right away.

"The strength that he has averaging 78 (yards on kickoffs), plus kicking the football with four (second) plus hang time, (are) just crazy numbers. It was too good to pass up for us.

"He was a great fit for us. We went into it with really no expectations to go after a kicker until we saw him and fell in love with his ability. The person and the family…they were made to come to Notre Dame." -- Brian Kelly Top Stories