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Newsstand: Who could replace Bryce McFerson as Notre Dame’s punter?

IMG_7504by:Jack Soble04/17/24


Bryce McFerson, Notre Dame’s starting punter in 2023 who was projected to retain his role in 2024, entered the transfer portal Tuesday afternoon. The Irish have two internal options to replace him.

Chris Salerno, a walk-on senior who did not appear in a game for the Irish throughout his first three seasons, is the only player listed as a punter on the official roster. The only player currently in South Bend who has college punting experience is walk-on graduate student Eric Goins.

Goins, who is listed as a kicker, is a 30-year-old U.S. Army veteran who rose to the rank of captain during his seven years of service. He kicked and punted at The Citadel from 2013-15, averaging 40.3 yards per punt on 43 attempts as a sophomore in 2013. He also punted six times with a long of 44 yards as a junior in 2014, before focusing exclusively on kicking in 2015.

After being accepted into Notre Dame’s two-year master of business administration program in December 2022, Goins tried to walk onto the 2023 team. Those plans didn’t work out, because his request to leave the Army was not approved until July 18 of that year.

By that point, it was too late for the 2023 season and Goins believed a return to college football was out the window. But as it turned out, the delay froze his eligibility clock for one more year. He was officially approved to join the Irish Dec. 22.

“The biggest goal is just to be a good teammate and contribute however I can to the team, whether that’s in a backup or starting role, no matter the specialist position that I play,” Goins said in early February.

If Notre Dame doesn’t acquire a punter in the transfer portal before fall camp, it might mean that Goins impressed enough in spring ball to start at punter for the Irish.

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Heartfelt goodbye from McFerson’s specialist teammate and junior classmate, long snapper Rino Monteforte.

Quote of the day

“Maddy, the thing I take away most from her is she’s a hard worker. I see her in the gym all the time getting shots up before practice, after practice or even on our off day. She’s always working, always taking care of her body and her mental. She’s definitely a person someone could look up to because of how she holds herself, how she carries herself and how she takes care of herself. That’s how every player should be.”

— Notre Dame guard Hannah Hidalgo on forward Maddy Westbeld, who announced her intention to return to South Bend for her fifth season

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