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The Milton Measure

Justin Time for Yoon: Former Miltonian Makes Notre Dame Debut

by on Friday, October 2nd, 2015

Justin Yoon is the starting kicker as a freshman at Notre Dame, the number 6 ranked college football team in the country. For those of you who don’t know, Justin graduated from Milton last year and played football and hockey. His success on the field and at Kicking Camps, which hosts some of the best kickers in the country, propelled him into the national spotlight. He gained attention not only from Notre Dame, but also from other top-tier schools such as Boston College, Harvard, Northwestern, Stanford, and Texas A&M. He was then invited to play in last year’s Under Armour All-American Game: a contest between the best high school players in the nation. As if an invitation to the game wasn’t enough, Yoon went on to nail a 47-yard field goal, the longest in the game’s history. Despite all of his accomplishments, Justin still believes he has a lot of work to do to get to where he ultimately wants to be, a true testament to his work ethic.

During our recent conversation, it seems Justin is coping with his new environment very well. He is excited about the season and eager to experience more. His teammates have welcomed him with open arms, making him feel comfortable and pushing his to be the best he can be. Through all his accomplishments, Justin has remained humble and willing to give back: he should be commended for that and we should be proud to have him as an alum.

Though he is busy with such a tough Division I schedule on top of academic work, Justin was nice enough to answer a few of my following interview questions:

What adjustments have you had to make, if any, from playing at Milton to playing Division I football?

One of the keys factors was understanding the flow of the game, but I would say the most important part was getting to know my teammates, trust in them, learn about them, and also staying focused with the mental aspect of the game. It’s a completely different ball game and a single mistake can cause a game changer so I definitely think that was a difference

Has it been difficult trying to balance school work, practice time, and travelling to games?

Almost everyday I go to football at 2:45 pm and then end at 10 pm at night so that was a difficult transition. I have been trying to maintain a good balance by getting ahead in school work so that I can focus on football without thinking about my academics or stressing about it.

Do you have any pre-game rituals?

I now definitely have to push my anxiety out of my body and stay calm as much as possible, so I listen to music or just think and visualize my kicking as I kick it through the uprights.

What advice would you give to a kid that wants to play a sport at the Division I level?

My advice would be to make sure you make your teammates better and support them because in the end the trust is what impacts the play in everyone. If you relate with your teammates and trust them then they will do the same for you and respect you, making the team better, and wins gain attention, so you will as well.

Have your coaches and teammates done anything to make the transition period easier for you?

The coaches and teammates have definitely helped me through encouraging me, but also by putting me through pressure situations to get me through this season and it’s working. They have definitely done their best to prepare me.

What number do you wear? Is there any meaning behind it?

I am number 19 because Steve Yzerman was my favorite Detroit Red Wings player as I grew up and he wore 19.

Any unpleasant duties as a freshman/rookie on the team?

As a freshman I just have to make my kicks and hold myself accountable to those terms. I have to make my teammates comfortable and think that whenever I am out there on the field I will make every single field goal. Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, or Senior, it doesn’t matter. The starters are all equal and are important to the team so no one on the team carries any equipment because we have managers here who do that for us so that we can think about and focus on the game.

Describe the emotions you were feeling leading up to your first game.

Definitely nervous for my first game but also excited to play and now I feel more comfortable and part of this team.

Who is the person who had the most influence on your success?

My dad, Jamie Kohl (my kicking coach), and Coach MacDonald were the ones who influenced my success. If it weren’t for any of them, I would not be here right now playing in front of 80,000 people.

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Posted by on Oct 2 2015. Filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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