Notre Dame football recruiting: Irish add punter to recruiting class

South Bend Tribune

Tyler Newsome didn't start taking punting seriously until November of last year.

Seven months later, the focus has paid off.

On Thursday, the 2014 prospect participated in a punting and kicking camp at Notre Dame coordinated by national kicking coach Jamie Kohl.

By lunch time, he was kicking solo in front of Brian Kelly. Later the Irish head coach extended an offer, and in less than 24 hours Newsome verbally committed to the program.

"My first thought was, 'You're not going to get an education and be able to play football anywhere else in the country like you would be able to here," Newsome said. "I talked to my family, but that was really where I wanted to be."

"There wasn't much thinking to it. It's a blessing."

The 6-foot-3, 190-pound product of Carrollton, Ga., had only one other offer -- from Air Force -- and made the decision on Friday to join the Irish recruiting class.

Newsome came to the camp at Notre Dame after learning through Kohl and Notre Dame special teams coordinator Scott Booker that the Irish were looking to give a scholarship to a punter and kickoff specialist. He proved himself on Thursday by winning contests in both.

In the punting competition, the players were given two attempts each to hit a 38-yarder with a 3.8-second hang time, a 40-yarder with 4-second hang time and a 42-yarder with a 4.2 hang time. Reaching those requirements put Newsome in a final three, and then he won the competition by booting the best ball of the trio.

He won the kickoff competition with kicks of 65 and 80 yards which bested the averages of the other kickers.

The pressure came during his audition in front of Kelly, punting coach Bob Diaco and other coaches.

"That was a little nerve-wracking," Newsome said. "But that's what it's going to be like in a game. I guess I did well enough for them to like me."

Newsome has yet to punt in a varsity game, but he has been kicking for Carrollton High since his sophomore season. He plans to add punting duties to his slate as a senior.

Newsome broke the news of his commitment on Twitter after arriving in Sherman Oaks, Calif., for an invite-only national camp hosted by Chris Sailer Kicking.

"Officially committed to the University of Notre Dame. What a blessing. #FightingIrish," Newsome wrote.

Chris Sailer Kicking ranks Newsome as the No. 33 kicker in the 2014 class and a 4.5-star prospect. Newsome said he hopes his performance at camp this weekend will improve his ranking.

Newsome is described as a "very talented kicker" on the Chris Sailer Kicking website.

"Punting may end up being his college strength," reads part of the review on Newsome. "One of the better combo prospects in the nation."

Newsome has worked with a number of kicking coaches including Sailer, Kohl and Mike McCabe.

Kohl Kicking ranks Newsome as the No. 6 punter in the 2014 class.

The commitment from Newsome gives Notre Dame's 2014 recruiting class 12 members. Newsome would become the first specialist to sign with the Irish since long snapper Scott Daly in 2012 and the first kicker since Kyle Brindza in 2011.

Staff writer Tyler James: | 574-235-6214

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly extended an offer to punter Tyler Newsome after watching him kick on campus Thursday.