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Notre Dame Lands Grad Transfer Kicker Blake Grupe

Notre Dame has picked up grad transfer placekicker Blake Grupe, the all-time scoring leader at Arkansas State

The most prolific kicker in the history of Arkansas State’s football program will be wearing a Notre Dame uniform in 2022. Blake Grupe announced that he plans to spend his sixth and final season kicking for the Fighting Irish after setting a Red Wolves record in scoring.

Grupe decided to he wanted to finish his career in a bigger spotlight, and it didn’t take long for him to figure out where that would be.

“I was in the portal Sunday night, Notre Dame called the next day,” Grupe told Irish Breakdown. “Some people have asked what are some other places have talked to you, but in my mind I saw Notre Dame come across my phone and to be real honest it didn’t matter who else was going to call. It was over after that.”

Leaving Arkansas State after five seasons wasn’t easy, but the Sedalia, Mo. native wanted to challenge himself.

“ASU has done me very well and I would be nowhere with them,” Grupe explained. “…. After this year I thought I owed it to myself, I owed it to my family and everyone who ever supported me to see what’s out there and see what opportunities come about.”

Grupe scored 354 points during his career and tied a Sun Belt record with 64 made field goals. His career long was 50 yards, which he made this past season, and he went 15-23 from 40-49 yards in the last three seasons. During his career he also made 162 career extra point attempts.

Grupe earned first-team All-Sun Belt honors after the 2019 season and was a second-team player after the 2021 season. In 2019 he was a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award, which goes to the nation’s best placekicker. He ranked 6th nationally in scoring among kickers that season with 110 points.

Notre Dame was attracted to his experience and history of success as they look to replace veteran Jonathan Doerer, who is out of eligibility.

“They’re looking for a guy that can come in that’s had success, somebody that can handle the moment,” Grupe stated. “Somebody that’s been a leader, somebody that can show up and compete for a job, and somebody that can be the man there. They want somebody that can come in and get it done.”

Grupe knows he’ll have to battle rising sophomore Josh Bryan for the job, and he was made no promises by the Irish coaching staff.

“If I don’t show up here and do my job, I’m not fulfilling my duties,” Grupe said. “By no means do I expect to just walk in and be the guy, I expect to earn it just like every other guy has done here. I wanted to go to school where I had a chance to play and compete for a job.”

Grupe hasn’t done much kicking off during his career at Arkansas State, instead spending his time solely as the placekicker. That means Bryan will get a chance to battle incoming freshman punter Bryce McFerson for the kickoff duties.

That will allow Grupe to focus on making pressure kicks, something he covets as a kicker.

“It’s all you can ask for as a kicker,” he said of the high leverage situations. “You live for those type of big game situations. I’ve had kicks throughout my year that I’ve had pressure on. I’ve had game winners, I’ve had game tiers, but I’ve had my mistakes as well and you learn from those. You learn to seek out those high pressure situations and learn to thrive in them. I want to be that guy. You obviously want team success and you want to score a touchdown, but in your mind you have to be ready to go out there.”

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That is part of the reason Grupe was so attracted to Notre Dame. For someone who seeks out big moments it would make sense that a place with Notre Dame’s tradition would stand out.

“You look at the traditions and the history of the school, it’s honestly overwhelming but also impressive,” Grupe said. “It’s amazing when you hear about it and see all these things and the support the fans give to the school how can you not want to be a part of that.

“I am stoked to be here. It’s a dream come true.”

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