I spoke with ’17 Notre Dame kicker Jonathan Doerer yesterday.
Jonathan Doerer was committed to Maryland until he received an unexpected call from Notre Dame’s Special Teams Coordinator in January.
“I couldn’t ever imagine that Notre Dame would contact me with the kind of recruitment I had. When they did in fact call me, I was kinda shocked,” said Doerer.
Doerer explained that Brian Polian called him during his final surge to do in-home visits with recruits before National Signing Day.
“Polian called me when he was cross-country visiting recruits and he told me what their situation was and that they were looking to add an extra guy and that they liked my film and what I had done. They set up an official visit to see if it would be a good fit,” said Doerer.
Jonathan Doerer’s commitment to Notre Dame came as a shock to many. Irish fans weren’t aware that the coaching staff were pursuing a kicker and with less than a month remaining and several holes to fill, a kicker wasn’t exactly being talked about at that time.
“The reason that nobody heard about it was probably because I didn’t tell anybody about it and only my high school coach and kicking coach knew because of my situation that I was in,” explained Doerer when I asked him why his visit was so low key.
“I was already committed and I didn’t want to ruffle any feathers late in the process and have something fall through with Notre Dame or fall through with the school I was committed to. It was something to cover all my basses. I wasn’t trying to be secretive about it. It was just to protect myself,” he said.
How kickers came about their niche trade is usually an interesting story. Here’s what Doerer told me about becoming a kicker and how he became one of the best in the country.
“I grew up a soccer player. My mom wouldn’t let me play football at a young age and I always wanted to. Once I started playing football, I quit soccer and I never looked back. I was playing receiver and safety,” he said.
“When I got to high school, they needed a kicker on the JV team. My dad told me it would be wise for me to go out and see if I could do it,” said Doerer. “Turns out I got out there, and I was kinda good at it. The further we went on, it seemed like a smart move to go on and pursue a kicking career.”
“Given how confident we felt that something like this would happen, I felt that kicking was the best way for me to attend school and fortunately, it all worked out for us,” Doerer explained.
Notre Dame currently have Justin Yoon who has had some tendonitis issues in his knee which led to him not being able to handle kickoff duties last year. They also have a very talented punter.
Doerer explained to me what his situation will be as a part of the kicking group at Notre Dame.
“Ideally, I’d be able to come in and earn kickoff duties and that’s what I would do my freshman season. After that, as far as what I’m going to do, is a bit of a toss-up,” said Doerer.
“I’d like to continue kicking off as a part of my career, but with Tyler Newsome being a junior, he will be leaving so maybe there will be a punting opportunity,” he said.
“Coach Polian might want me to try focus more time on punting. I can also kick field goals as well, so what I’m going to do after that, I’m not sure, but my freshman season,the anticipation is that I’m going to go in there and kick off,” said Doerer.
Jonathan Doerer and his mother were completely sold on Notre Dame once the visited the campus.
“It was fantastic. Everything. I hadn’t seen the campus or anything so I didn’t know what to expect at all,” he explained. “The history and the tradition is evident once you step foot. You see the golden dome and you see the stadium and you go inside the churches and all that stuff. It’s just a special place once you set foot on campus,” said Doerer.
“Once my mom saw the churches, there was no way I could saw no to that. It was unbelievable.”
I mentioned to Doerer that I had noticed Notre Dame have been recruiting the North Carolina area heavily, especially since Mike Elko and Clark Lea joined the staff after being with Wake Forest. Here’s what he had to say about his home state.
“There’s a of lot good athletes around here, especially Charlotte, the city I’m from. There’s a lot of guys that have gone on to the NFL from Charlotte,” said Doerer.
“Even Notre Dame, you got guys like the Okwara brothers, Mathias Farley, and I can’t tell you why, it’s maybe not be like Texas and all that, but at the top there’s some really outstanding players that come out of here year in and year out and it’s going to be pretty special to go out and play against them,” said Doerer.
This led to my next question. As Notre Dame will be playing UNC in Chapel Hill, I asked the 6’3 kicker how he felt about playing in that game.
“It’s going to be awesome. I’m definitely looking forward to that,” he said.
“I’m going to have some friends and family there, of course. One of my best buddies from high school is an early enrollee defensive end at Chapel Hill, so it’ll be fun to play against him. I’m definitely looking forward to that one next year,” said Doerer.
Jonathan Doerer see’s the potential in his Notre Dame class of ’18 in how they all have the same mindset.
“We’re all at Notre Dame for a reason. We’re all pretty strong academic kids. We’re a really like-minded group of people. Outside of our athletic abilities, I think that is what is going to give us an advantage on Saturdays,” said Doerer.
I expect Jonathan Doerer to earn the starting kickoff duties this summer. He has the leg and seems like a mature and focused kid. This will likely pay dividends as Doerer can blast kickoffs through the back of the end zone regularly.
This was a great addition to Notre Dame.