(UHND.com) – Notre Dame picked up its 20th commitment of the year Wednesday morning with the addition of kicker/punter Brandon Walker from Ohio. Walker, originally a Louisville commitment, wavered with the coaching change and has landed in Notre Dame’s lap. He brings a strong leg to the Irish and will battle with current freshman Ryan Burkhart for the place kicking and kick-off duties.
Place kicking has been a crap shoot for Notre Dame since Nick Setta graduated in 2003 making the addition of another place kicker a welcomed sight in this class. Walker is listed as the #6 punter by Scout.com but was recruited by the Irish as a place kicker mainly. With Geoff Price running out of eligibility after this season, however, Walker could fill that void next year as well.
Notre Dame brought in Ryan Burkhart last year, but the freshman kicker struggled with consistency with his place kicking and had trouble reaching the end-zone on kickoffs. Originally, it didn’t appear as though they Irish would recruit a kicker this year, but when it became clear that they wouldn’t reach the 25 scholarship maximum they started looking.
Walker’s name quickly popped up in relation to Notre Dame, but they weren’t the only school Walker had considered after wavering from Louisville. He had an offer from Pitt as well and was considering the Panthers as well before picking Notre Dame.
Walker only connected on two of six field goals this past year, but as a junior he hit 9 of 12. Look for him to compete with Burkhart all summer long for the place kicking and kick-off duties. Last summer Charlie Weis held an open competition all throughout camp, and I expect to see him do the same thing this year.
Like Burkhart last year, Walker will need plenty of work because he didn’t have a whole lot of opportunities during his senior year. Walker is said to have a strong leg, however, and if he can get the ball into the end-zone consistently on kick-offs he will have more than earned his scholarship.
This could very well be the last commitment for the Irish the year. Weis had said he wanted to bring a full 25 in this year, but Walker at #20 might be the last addition to this year’s class.
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