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Notre Dame Football Spring Positional Overview: Specialists

This spring will (hopefully) be an uninteresting one for the most exciting position group on Notre Dame’s roster.

NCAA Football: Georgia at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have already finished an early signing day, concluded their season with a bowl win over the LSU Tigers, and wrapped up the final signing day. Now, it’s time to begin the transition to Spring Football. To prepare for that, we’re going to take a look at each positional group heading into spring. Early enrollees will be included in this, but signees who did not enroll early will not be included. Without further ado, let’s get right into it.


  • Jonathan Doerer (SO)
  • John Shannon (JR)
  • Justin Yoon (SR)
  • Tyler Newsome (5th-Yr)


Ideally, there will be no surprises with the specialists this year.

The veterans have proven solid and reliable, and as the saying goes: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

Justin Yoon has been as good as you can ask for as a kicker. He will likely leave Notre Dame as its all time scoring leader, and will also leave Notre Dame with the highest career field goal percentage barring an utter collapse on his part. This spring, for him, is mostly about maintaining his rhythm.

Everything said about Justin Yoon more or less applies to Tyler Newsome as well. Newsome has shown a bit of inconsistency in his punting, but has all in all been commendable in doing his job. Having a punter that can consistently flip the field like he can is certainly a luxury, though it’s one that you don’t tend to notice until it’s gone.

NCAA Football: Citrus Bowl-Notre Dame vs Louisiana State Matt Stamey-USA TODAY Sports

John Shannon has been unnoticeable as a Long Snapper. That’s the highest compliment that a long snapper can receive. He has consistently done his job effectively, which subsequently prevents the Irish from being put in unnecessary and poor situations. The fact that he hasn’t been noticeable is the highest possible compliment he could be afforded.

Jonathan Doerer is unlikely to take a spot away from Yoon or Newsome without an injury to one of the starters. However, he did take over kickoff duties relatively frequently in 2017, and could take over full time in 2018. If he is to do so, his accuracy with his kicks will have to improve. With that said, the leg strength he possesses is without a doubt sufficient.

This might not be the most glamorous or thrilling position group, but these four players are undeniable important to Notre Dame’s on field success. They are an integral part of the team that helps keep this ship afloat.

And come on guys, punters are people too, so why not give them their 15 minutes?