Notre Dame Football: Kicker Justin Yoon Ready For the Spotlight


Freshman kicker Yoon won’t be fazed

There is generally a love/hate relationship with a kicker from the fans. You hear the phrase “in the flow of the game” for many players, but the kicker doesn’t have that luxury. It’s never been any different at

Notre Dame

. They can sit on the sidelines for much of the game, kicking into a net while no one watches. And then be asked to go in and kick a game-winning field goal? So much pressure. And for the freshman Justin Yoon?

No pressure.

For years, Notre Dame would pluck its kicker from the residence hall intramural leagues, or try to lure one of the soccer players over to the “other” football to kick. Lou Holtz didn’t much believe in recruiting kickers. Brian Kelly, on the other hand, he knows the value of a kicker. And with the graduation of Kyle Brindza after an effective albeit inconsistent career, a quick solution was needed. Enter Yoon, the top-ranked kicker in the nation.

After a successful beginning to his career, Brindza saw a senior season filled with disappointment. But that could be attributed to the issues at holder as well as Brindza himself. For Yoon, one of the first things he plans to do is getting together with DeShone Kizer. Yoon watched Brindza struggle, but also dealt with the same issue himself.

"“I had problems with (holding) here too,” Yoon said. “Luckily my freshman, sophomore and junior year were successful. But my last year was a little difficult in being able to find a holder, and that honestly I think is sort of like a trial and error. It’s really hard to find someone who fits you.” h/t Nick Ironside, 247 Sports"

Yoon and Kizer, if they work well together, could be a team for the next four years. Yoon is going to be the guy once arriving in South Bend, and Kizer has four years left after being redshirted. The two could make an interesting pair, and possibly even a record-setting one if Yoon reaches his potential.

The young man is meticulous, he is detailed, and he is prepared. The crowds will get bigger, the stage grander. But Yoon will stay right where he needs to in his mind, as if he’s still kicking in front of 1,500 fans and not 90,ooo.

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