Notre Dame will add another leg to its roster this fall when former Wake Forest punter Alex Wulfeck transfers to South Bend.
Wake Forest punter Alex Wulfeck plans to transfer to Notre Dame for the 2013 roster.
Wulfeck confirmed that he plans to join the Irish football team after he graduates from Wake Forest in the spring. Wulfeck, who has one year of eligibility remaining after sitting out his freshman season, averaged 39.6 yards per kick in 72 attempts while playing for the Demon Deacons.
The Irish have spent the month of February padding out a perilously thin specialists depth chart. Wulfeck will join incoming freshmen Andrew Antognoli and John Chereson as new kickers next season.
Prior to adding that trio, Notre Dame had only sophomore Kyle Brindza returning to handle kickoff, field goal and punting duties. Senior punter Ben Turk graduates this spring after holding the first-string job . Senior placekicker Nick Tausch has one year of eligibility left, but might not have a scholarship reserved for him next season.
Wulfeck’s father, Dennis, said it wasn’t clear yet whether the Irish intended to give his son a scholarship or keep him as a walk-on player. The two freshmen kickers were added to the roster as preferred walk-ons.
“They haven’t talked about that and I don’t know that it’s that important to Alex. He just wants to be able to compete for the job,” the older Wulfeck said.
Originally a walk-on at Wake Forest, Wulfeck earned a scholarship after his freshman season. He won the punting job as a junior. He had one of his better games against the Irish in Winston-Salem when he dropped two of his five kicks inside the five-yard line in a 24-17 Irish win. He finished that season with 13 of his 70 attempts landing inside the 20-yard line.
Wulfeck suffered a groin injury on the first day of the 2012 season training camp and felt he never got a fair chance to earn his spot back when he was healthy.
Wulfeck previously met head coach Brian Kelly and members of his staff as a high school prospect when they were still at Cincinnati. He was named the best punter at the BearCats’ summer camp as a junior. A former coach from The Bolles School, Wulfeck’s high school in Jacksonville, Fla., reached out to the Notre Dame staff to re-establish the connection.
He had a chance to see Notre Dame’s campus and experience the football atmosphere last November when he traveled with his team to play the Irish on their Senior Day. He said he was impressed by the experience and by how many fans stuck around even though the game was a blowout.
“I think that was the nailing point home for me when I knew Notre Dame was interested,” he said. “I was just in total shock that the fans were so true. It was amazing. It had a powerful impact on me.”
The 5-foot-9 punter doesn’t have overwhelming power, according to kicking specialist coach Greg Zauner, but he has strong directional control on his kicks and is at his best while using a rugby style on the run. Zauner worked with Wulfeck last spring to help him prepare for his senior season.
“It doesn’t matter how big a guy is if he can put it to the sideline or away from the return guy,” Zauner said. “As far as a traditional hang time guy, I don’t think he's got NFL potential, but I think he could be a good college player especially with the directional punt.”
Wulfeck said he plans to start summer classes at Notre Dame after finishing his undergraduate degree at Wake Forest. He won’t have to sit out for a year after transferring because he will enroll as a graduate student. He said he expects his experience to help him compete for the starting job this fall in training camp.