Notre Dame 99-to-2: No. 19 Justin Yoon, placekicker
Listed Measurements: 5-foot-10, 194 pounds
2018-19 year, eligibility: Senior with only 2018’s eligibility remaining.
Depth chart: Yoon would need to start the season oh-for-more-than-a-handful to cede the placekicking duties to sophomore Jonathan Doerer, who should take over kickoff responsibilities entirely this year, if all goes to Irish plan.
Recruiting: The consensus top kicker in the class of 2015 and an Under Armour All-American, Yoon chose Notre Dame over Texas A&M, Northwestern and Boston College.
CAREER TO DATE
Having exclusively handled the placekicking duties with little difficulty for three seasons now, it is beginning to be difficult to keep track of what records Yoon has already set and which ones he is closing in on.
2015: 15-of-17 field goal attempts including a career-long 52-yarder; 50-of-52 extra point attempts, including 30 in a row to conclude the season to go along with 12 consecutive converted field goals.
2016: 13-of-17 field goal attempts with a season-long of 40 yards; 44-of-46 extra point attempts.
2017: 14-of-18 field goal attempts with a season-long of 49 yards; 55-of-55 extra point attempts, setting the school record for most point afters converted, topping D.J. Fitzpatrick’s 2005 record of 52. Yoon went 4-for-4 against Georgia, keeping the Irish in the game while the offense tried to find its way.
The only mention of Yoon this spring came when the media noticed his absence at a practice. That alone is something of a surprise, since all but a few of the spring’s 15 practices were held indoors where Yoon’s work was separated from the Irish at large, needing to remain outdoors to avoid breaking any lights along the ceiling.
Yoon missed that early April practice to partake in a kicking camp. Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly compared the purpose to a golfer fine-tuning his swing and wanting to study the mechanics of it thoroughly.
“He just went to refine the things he’s doing,” Kelly said. “… He’s going to be consistent. I think he was more interested in making sure that he got on film and he got evaluated that all the things that he’s been doing is right on.”
WHAT WAS PROJECTED A YEAR AGO
“Yoon’s active streak ended quickly last season, with his first attempt of the year getting blocked. Overall, though, it was another strong season for the placekicker, despite some injury concerns which led to him being held out of practice this spring. Whether or not those troubles derived from an increased workload due to adding kickoff duties to his platter, Yoon will not have to strike that balance this year thanks to the arrival of Doerer.
“Focusing entirely on placekicking does not guarantee Yoon’s field goal percentage will rise or even stay at its current impressive mark. For example, if Yoon were to go 15-of-20 but that included a 5-of-10 performance from 50-plus yards, few would disparage his accuracy. In that respect, many of Yoon’s stats are posted at the mercy of the offense as much as his own accomplishments. [Craig] Hentrich’s career extra points made record is a testament to that era’s offense, as well as Hentrich’s consistency.”
Let’s make this clear: This may not be a comprehensive list of the records Yoon has set or is about to challenge. He is very much in the mix for just about every season- and career-long kicking total and percentage mark. That is what happens when you kick for a high-powered offense for four years.
- Yoon scored 97 points last season. His immediate place-kicking predecessor, Kyle Brindza (2011-14) set the single-season record of 98 in 2013. A strong Irish offense could push Yoon past that number in 2018, though it needs to be acknowledged matching last year’s high-octane offense should not be taken for granted.
- Yoon’s 55 made extra points in 2017 topped Fitzpatrick’s 2005 record. That mark could fall again, especially if Notre Dame finds an early groove against the defenses of Michigan and Virginia Tech.
- Yoon’s career-long field goal of 52 yards is one yard short of the school record.
- Brindza’s 57 career field goals made is the school record. Yoon needs 15 to tie it, a mark he reached as a freshman and fell one short of last season.
- Yoon’s current career field goal percentage is 80.8 percent, far ahead of the record pace set by John Carney (1984-86) of 73.9 percent. Yoon has reached the minimum of 50 attempts, so the record stands as his as of now. If he missed his next five attempts, though, Yoon’s percentage would fall to 73.7. Having averaged 17 attempts per season thus far, Yoon would need to make nine of a theoretical 17 to retain the record mark.
- Hentrich’s (1989-92) 177 career extra points made is only 28 ahead of Yoon.
How often Yoon kicks is only somewhat in his hands. If he shows Kelly he is to be counted on from 52 yards, then suddenly offensive drives need reach only the 35-yard line to be considered scoring drives. That would be quite a weapon, but one still only deployed when the offense stalls.
Yoon will be reliable again this year. There is no reason whatsoever to think otherwise. Having performed as such for three years, one might hope Yoon gets a make-or-break, win-or-lose, clock-about-to-hit-zero moment in his senior season. Such a moment would cement his status as (arguably) the greatest kicker in school history, and would give a bit more meaning to those counting stats.
Yoon has not needed to perform for Notre Dame in the clutch. It would be reassuring to see him do so, as well as quite intriguing.
DOWN THE ROAD
If Yoon wants to pursue the NFL, and he presumably at least hopes to, a few chances this season to showcase his leg strength would be welcome. The NFL has a good number of accurate kickers (though never enough); it will always take a few more strong and accurate kickers.
NOTRE DAME 99-to-2:
No. 99 Jerry Tillery, defensive tackle, senior
No. 98 Ja’Mion Franklin, defensive tackle, incoming freshman
No. 97 Micah Dew-Treadway, defensive tackle, senior
No. 95 Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive tackle, sophomore
No. 94 Darnell Ewell, defensive tackle, sophomore
No. 91 Ade Ogundeji, defensive end, junior
No. 89 Brock Wright, tight end, sophomore
No. 88 Javon McKinley, receiver, junior
No. 87 Michael Young, receiver, sophomore
No. 86 Alizé Mack, tight end, senior
No. 85 George Takacs, tight end, early-enrolled freshman
No. 85 Tyler Newsome, punter and captain, fifth-year senior
No. 84 Cole Kmet, tight end, sophomore
No. 83 Chase Claypool, receiver, junior
No. 82 Nic Weishar, tight end, fifth-year senior
No. 81 Miles Boykin, receiver, senior
No. 80 Micah Jones, receiver, early-enrolled freshman
No. 78 Tommy Kraemer, right guard, junior
No. 76 Dillan Gibbons, offensive lineman, sophomore
No. 75 Josh Lugg, offensive lineman, sophomore
No. 74 Liam Eichenberg, starting left tackle, junior
No. 72 Robert Hainsey, right tackle, sophomore
No. 71 Alex Bars, left guard and captain, fifth-year senior
No. 70 Luke Jones, offensive lineman, incoming freshman
No. 69 Aaron Banks, offensive tackle, sophomore
No. 68 Jarrett Patterson, offensive tackle, incoming freshman
No. 60 Cole Mabry, offensive tackle, incoming freshman
No. 57 Trevor Ruhland, offensive lineman, senior
No. 57 (theoretically) Jayson Ademilola, defensive tackle, incoming freshman
No. 56 John Dirksen, offensive lineman, incoming freshman
No. 55 Jonathan Bonner, defensive tackle, fifth-year senior
No. 54 John Shannon, long snapper, junior
No. 53 Khalid Kareem, defensive end, junior
No. 53 Sam Mustipher, center and captain, fifth-year senior
No. 52 Bo Bauer, linebacker, early-enrolled freshman
No. 47 Kofi Wardlow, defensive end, sophomore
No. 45 Jonathan Jones, linebacker, junior
No. 44 Jamir Jones, defensive end, junior
No. 42 Julian Okwara, defensive end, junior
No. 41 Kurt Hinish, defensive tackle, sophomore
No. 40 Drew White, linebacker, sophomore
No. 39 Jonathan Doerer, kickoff specialist, sophomore
No. 34 Jahmir Smith, running back, early-enrolled freshman
No. 33 Shayne Simon, linebacker, incoming freshman
No. 31 Jack Lamb, linebacker, early-enrolled freshman
No. 30 Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, linebacker, sophomore
No. 29 Ovie Oghoufo, linebacker, early-enrolled freshman
No. 28 Nicco Fertitta, safety, senior
No. 27 Julian Love, cornerback, junior, second-team All-American
No. 25 Braden Lenzy, receiver, incoming freshman
No. 24 Tommy Tremble, tight end, incoming freshman
No. 24 Nick Coleman, defensive back, senior
No. 23 Drue Tranquill, linebacker, two-time captain, fifth-year senior
No. 22 Asmar Bilal, rover, senior
No. 21 Jalen Elliott, safety, junior
No. 20 Shaun Crawford, nickelback, senior
No. 20 C’Bo Flemister, running back, incoming freshman
No. 35 David Adams, linebacker, sophomore
No. 11 Freddy Canteen, receiver, outgoing transfer
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