Sept. 24, 1999
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Michigan State made no mistake in deciding to punt on fourth down in the middle of the second quarter last Saturday. What the Spartans were not prepared for was a streaking Jonathan Hebert.
The senior walk-on broke through the Spartan front line and blocked Craig Jarrett’s punt to give the Irish another shot at a touchdown.
Besides giving the Irish another offensive opportunity, it allowed a national audience a glimpse at the dedication that so many non-scholarship players make to the Notre Dame football program.
“I have tremendous respect for Jonathan Hebert,” Irish head coach Bob Davie said. “Not only does he do some things on punt returns, he is on our kickoff return team and he is one of our most consistent blockers.”
He became a member of the Notre Dame football team during his sophomore year. He did not have the notion of joining the team when he was a freshman at the University. Instead, he chose the route of many of the great high school athletes once they enter Notre Dame, they gear up for interhall sports. Hebert joined the Zahm interhall football squad but at the suggestion of one of his section mates, Hebert decided to try out for the squad.
By his junior year, Hebert began to advance past the ranks of the scout team. In fact, he played in all 12 games as backup wide receiver. Actually, he made 59 appearances on special team appearances with the kickoff return and punt return teams. On top of that, he saw action eight times in the Gator Bowl.
“He does a tremendous job everyday in practice,” Davie said. “He is a good football player. He played last year some at receiver on the running downs because he is a tremendous blocker.”
Besides playing for the special teams, he also played at receiver against Michigan and Navy. He also returned a single kickoff for 13-yards.
Football isn’t anything new to Hebert. He led his Klein, Texas High School team to conference and regional championships in both his senior and junior year. Hebert finished with 180 career tackles at the strong safety position and earned all-league honors both his senior and junior years.
Besides football, Hebert likes to keep his plate full. In addition to the grueling football practices, the senior majors in mechanical engineering. On top of that, he also works at the Career and Placement Center on Notre Dame campus.
“He is like all of our walk-ons really,” Davie said. “Jonathan has just had more opportunity to play in games. He is a great representative of that group because he is a valuable member of this team.”