2019 Recruiting: K Harrison Leonard Commits to Notre Dame

Notre Dame’s recruiting Class of 2019 got a little bit bigger this Thursday night — and it didn’t even require the use of a scholarship to do so — as specialist Harrison Leonard has committed to the Irish as a preferred walk-on. The 5-11/180 pounder out of Avon, CT visited Notre Dame back in mid September for the victory over Vanderbilt, and from that point he was basically just waiting for the green light to commit to the Irish.

Recruiting Service Rankings

247Sports Composite– 3 star (.7978), #2433 overall, #14 K, #17 in CT

Kohl’s Kicking — 5 stars, #7 kicker

Cohort

Harrison chose the Irish over other interest from Arizona, Connecticut, Oklahoma State, Princeton, Utah, Rutgers, Boston College, and Wisconsin.

Highlights

I’m no expert on kicking specialists by any means, so it’s hard for me to really give an in-depth evaluation of Leonard’s ability. But it looks like he has a good leg. He makes a couple of ≈40 yard field goals in these highlights, and he routinely kicks it out of the back of the end zone on kickoffs — which would equal a touchback even by college standards.

Impact

Landing one of the top kickers in the country without using a scholarship is a pretty good deal. This is good insurance in case Doerer doesn’t progress well enough by next season — a scenario that is not looking completely unrealistic. I could definitely see a scenario in which Harrison sees the field early and earns a scholarship after his first year or two on campus.

Welcome to the Irish family, Harrison!

By |2018-10-18T22:16:55+00:00October 18th, 2018|Recruiting|37 Comments

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Coyote1985Cubfansince1957kiwifanThe commenter formerly known as tcfka occtipusKG Recent comment authors
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Scarponi
Scarponi

Certainly picking up another kicker seems like a good move, and love that it doesn’t even require a scholarship. Didn’t we do this for another specialist? Was it Doerer? Or someone else? Or am I just remembering wrong?

dannan14
dannan14

Finke started as a preferred walk on. The only specialist i can think of who might have otherwise been a walk-on was MVG, but that was obviously a different situation. Maybe there was someone else, but i don’t recall.

HolyCrossHog
HolyCrossHog

How can you forget Joe and his lunch pail.

dannan14
dannan14

/facepalm Maybe i can blame the constant mention of “former walk-on” deadening my memory…but also, he wasn’t a specialist.

DrIck
DrIck

Hold up, Finke was a walk-on??

KG
KG

And BallPittsVandygan State’s QB is 6’5″, grew up an ND fan, is the ANSWER for them, and his dad coaches in the NFL.

tlndma
tlndma

Avon Old Farms…..Brian Leetch, Jonathan Quick.
Kids a punter too?

hooks orpik
hooks orpik

I get the answer is specialization and maybe it’s not that important to save a roster spot, but I sometimes wonder if a guy like Belichick wouldn’t be able to find a hybrid kicker+punter and have an extra spot on his 53.

A guy like Pat McAfee was a kicker in HS, college and got drafted by Bill Polian to be a punter off basically nothing (Polian saw McAfee messing around having fun in pre-warmup of the senior bowl punting and Polian figured it would work). That might be an extreme example but McAfee did kickoffs for the Colts and did become one of the league’s top punters despite as he has said having to literally learn how to punt after being drafted.

Not sure if maybe the leg would wear down too much anyways to perform both jobs capably – and bottom line is it’s more important to have good players at both spots instead of keeping an extra body- but it’s always a little nagging thought I get sometimes. Weird thoughts, I know.

DCIrish84
DCIrish84

Very rare in the pros for someone to be both a kicker and a punter. I am wondering who will punt for us next year.

hooks orpik
hooks orpik

I assume Jay Bramblett, the #1 or 2 punter in this class that is a verbal. Brendan says he kicks it high and far so that’s good enough for me. If not, @Fire Polian!@

https://www.18stripes.com/2019-recruiting-p-jay-bramblett-commits-to-notre-dame/

juicebox
juicebox

I think in the pros the punter is the backup kicker, and vice versa, for a given game. But there are always a dozen moderately serviceable kickers/punters who get cut and picked up throughout the year, so there’s no need for any team to carry a backup to either.

Clearwall
Clearwall

Last year for the Cowboys, Dan Bailey went down for a few weeks and in the game he went out(and I think the game after) Jeff Heath, starting Safety kicked instead of the punter, Chris Jones.

DrIck
DrIck

Well, yeah, but the Cowboys suck…

juicebox
juicebox

Wasn’t Warren Sapp the Buc’s emergency kicker back in the day? I know Tom Tupa (punter) used to also be the Pat’s 3rd string QB.

hooks orpik
hooks orpik

Yeah, that’s a reasonable fall-back, but a lot of times if the kicker gets hurt, it’s not like the punter is going to kick anything more than an XP. And even then sometimes they just go for 2 anyways. I don’t think you lose much if you drop the backup kicker, because a team is pretty much screwed (And just going to abandon kicking altogether) if the kicker gets hurt.

juicebox
juicebox

Very true. I think most teams opt to go for it on 4th or even 2pc much more if their K gets injured. I should have said are nominally the backup.

tlndma
tlndma

Of course Flutie could drop kick. Fire away.

Eric Murtaugh

Once a Winged Beaver always a Winged Beaver.

DrIck
DrIck

Wearing #5 – I assume he tackles like Teo

Clay Cossé fka Mouth
Clay Cossé fka Mouth

Or throws like Golson?

DrIck
DrIck

He’s really a better runner than passer

Clearwall
Clearwall

Time to call more fake punts!

..though not on 4th and 8 with 1:00 in the game

Eric Murtaugh

Can this guy boot kickoffs perfectly inside the left pylon down to the one yard line so we can get some reps in for coverage during games?

More Noise
More Noise

BTW — have we managed to get any fidelity on why Doerer cannot routinely kick the ball out of the end zone during games, when it seems to be that he can do that in practice?

KG
KG

I thought it was pretty well accepted that he’s being coached to do it, because rather than just putting them on the 25 and letting our D do it’s thing, for some reason Polian thinks it’s better to try to pop the kick up and let the runner get it at the 1 or 2, nevermind the fact that our coverage team wouldn’t get down there until the runner has made it to the 18-20 at best, meaning it’s a 5 yard difference, or it gets returned for a TD at worst.

Coyote1985
Coyote1985

I believe that they change it up – sometimes out of the end zone and sometimes high and short, but always to the sideline. The problem seems to occur when he kicks it short and right down the middle, especially if it is not high enough. I think Kelly said that on the kickoff return against Pitt, they were supposed to kick it out of the end zone, but he kicked it short.

The commenter formerly known as tcfka occtipus
The commenter formerly known as tcfka occtipus

ONLY A 3 STAR?????? FIRE KELLY!!!!!!!!

HolyCrossHog
HolyCrossHog

Go Sparty!

HolyCrossHog
HolyCrossHog

Holy cheeseburgers, Purdue! They did it to OSU AGAIN!

More Noise
More Noise

Good for the Boilers. Looks like it was a nice win. AFN didn’t show it over here.

HolyCrossHog
HolyCrossHog

PM me dnihilist at hotmail. I’ll hook you up.

More Noise
More Noise

I got nothing for either team, HCH — heck, you are the only one on this board except maybe Cubsfan to remember the Hate State days… well, maybe not you. But Cubsfan must.
Anyway, I despise both programs and much to my chagrin, I admit it’s better for us if scUM keeps winning out. I am sort of dreaming that they beat Urbie, become #4 seed, get crushed by the Death Star…

kiwifan
kiwifan

Yeah, that would float my boat too. For me, it’s USC, OSU, Michigan in hate priority, going back to the Woody Hayes days. Nanocentimeters between the latter two, with USC well in the lead.

I never really hated Bama—they’re genuinely too good. I record their games just to watch Tua these days. Unbelievable talent. I don’t think there’s a defense in CFB that can stop their offense. I think, if they have a weakness, it’s on defense. I don’t see LSU being able to score much, Michigan either. We could score, but I doubt we could put enough points up on Bama to make it a contest. Sadly.

Cubfansince1957
Cubfansince1957

Actually, during my era of Ara (I was at ND from 1970-73 in terms of football seasons), we outscored Michigan State 59-2 in the first three games, so it was a pretty one-sided rivalry at that point. My senior year, the game was a close ND victory (14-10), but I remember that we were already getting up for USC, and kind of overlooked Michigan State (who was mediocre at that time, and who included a guy named Tyrone Willingham on their roster).

Up until the infamous 10-10 tie in 1966, ND was 2-12 against State in the prior 14 years. Thus, a lot of hatred made sense. By the time I attended, the hatred had died down due to State’s slide into mediocrity. I felt the second most hatred towards them when they won those five games in a row during the Davie years. Indeed, remember that the Sports Illustrated “Return to Glory” cover referred to Willingham’s defeat of Michigan State, at Michigan State in 2002, which broke that five game streak.

The most hatred I’ve ever felt for Michigan State was the flag-planting incident in Weis’ first year. Of course, that got defused in the most delicious way with the incredible comeback ND win the following year in East Lansing, and the glorious moment when MSU’s coach, John L. Smith, posted several players to stand out in the post-game rain to guard their logo against a similar attack by the Irish that never came (we had too much class for that).

And, speaking of class, how about the Michigan player scuffing up the Sparty logo before the game yesterday, and the clashes between the teams before the game? And, how about the coaches sniping at each other? Now there is some serious hatred going on.

kiwifan
kiwifan

I was at ND when Staubach was at Navy, Kuharich and DeVore we’re the coaches, then Ara came in the spring of 64. In 62, MSU had a great back they called the Golden Greek, and he ran all over us. His name was George something or other. 62 and 63 seasons were a disaster.

HolyCrossHog
HolyCrossHog

I’m old but not that old.