Notre Dame Football has shock special teams portal entry

Notre Dame Football faces unexpected losses as players enter transfer portal, including starting punter Bryce McFerson.
Punter Bryce McFerson (14) practices his technique Saturday, March 25, 2023, at Notre Dame spring
Punter Bryce McFerson (14) practices his technique Saturday, March 25, 2023, at Notre Dame spring / Greg Swiercz / USA TODAY NETWORK

The saying “the transfer portal giveth and the transfer portal taketh away” has never been more accurate than it is for Notre Dame Football right now. Well of course for the little that so far since the transfer portal opened, it’s only taken away.

The loss of Clarence Lewis to the portal was no longer a surprise on Tuesday morning. His officially leaving for Syracuse was mostly a done deal a week ago. It was just his new home that was still a bit of a mystery.

The same can’t be said for punter Bryce McFerson. There wasn’t anything remotely resembling a warning that the guy in line to be the starting punter for the Notre Dame Football team was looking to take his act on the road.

McFerson announced he is leaving the program on social media Tuesday morning, just as things really started heating up for the transfer portal.

“I would like to thank (head) Coach (Marcus) Freeman, (special teams coordinator) Coach (Marty) Biagi and (special teams analyst) Coach (Jesse) Schmitt for the opportunity to play on the biggest stage in college football at an amazing institution like Notre Dame,” McFerson said in the declaratory tweet. “I’ve grown so much in my two years here, and I am very grateful for the relationships I’ve made along the way.”

“That being said,” he finished. “I am entering the transfer portal with three years of eligibility.”

Notre Dame Football has surprise special teams portal entry

Last season, McFerson appeared in 12 games (he didn’t need to appear in the season opener against Navy) and averaged 45.1 yards per punt on 38 attempts. 

Thanks to an offensive attack that moved the ball well, he didn’t get enough attempts to qualify for the NCAA’s statistical leaders but would have been about 18th had he qualified. 

McFerson’s departure means that Notre Dame Football has just two walk-ons who could serve as punters at the moment.  Chris Salerno is listed as a punter but has never appeared in a game for the Irish. Eric Goins, a backup kicker who transferred from The Citadel this offseason, has previously handled punting duties, even if that’s not his natural position.

At this point, it seems likely that Notre Dame will at least consider bringing in a scholarship punter from another program.