Notre Dame received its 13th commitment for the recruiting class of 2014 on Wednesday when OLB/DE Jonathan Bonner committed to Notre Dame after an impressive performance this past weekend at Notre Dame’s future stars camp.
Notre Dame hosted several elite recruits over the weekend for their future stars camp, but Bonner’s name did not pop up in many of the reports heading into the weekend. Bonner’s performance over the weekend, however, raised some eyebrows nd was enough to earn the St. Louis area native a scholarship from the Notre Dame coaching staff Bonner told St. Louis today.
“We’ve been talking since the camp on Saturday that I went to,” Bonner said. “That’s when they started looking at me and looking into making an offer. Over the past couple of days they’ve been going through grades and transcripts and all that stuff. I’ve had that time to think about it.”
Notre Dame was not the first D1 program to offer Bonner. Before picking up his offer from Notre Dame, Bonner collected offers from Michigan State, Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana
At 6’4″, 250 lbs heading into his senior season at Parkway Central High School, Bonner will initially play the CAT position for Notre Dame, but given his frame a future as a defensive end does not seem out of the question at all. In fact, Bonner is very similar in build coming out of high school to the recently graduated Kapron Lewis-Moore. Moore was a tall, lanky hybrid OLB/DE coming out of high school as well and turned into a more than solid weakside defensive end for the Irish over the last four years.
Jonathan Bonner adds pass rushing skills to the Notre Dame class
Bonner’s pass rushing skills will be tempting to keep at the CAT position, however, as long as he doesn’t grow his way into defensive end. As a junior last year Bonner picked up 12 sacks and 64 tackles last season while earning second team All Metro honors from St. Louis Today. As a CAT linebacker for the Irish, Bonner would spend most of his time rushing the quarterback but would be asked to drop into coverage occassionally.
According to ESPN, Bonner spent a lot of time in one on one drills against the offensive line at last weekend’s camp and more than held his on. In fact, Bonner told ESPN that the Irish coaches couldn’t find anyone to beat him in the drills.
He went to Notre Dame’s camp last weekend and spent the first session working out at defensive end. Some of the Irish’s committed offensive linemen and several BCS-level linemen went up against Bonner, and Bonner said he did not lose any one-on-one drills.
“The coaches said they couldn’t find someone to beat me,” Bonner said.
Considering that the offensive linemen included current commitments Alex Bars (OT), Jimmy Byrne (OG), and Quenton Nelson (OT), Bonner’s performance in those drills is even more impressive.
It will be interesting to watch Bonner develop on the field and in the weight room throughout his career. Coming in at 250 or so pounds is close to playing weight for a CAT LB for the Irish. It’s possible that Bonner won’t pack on too much more weight but will work with Paul Longo to redistribute some of that weight. Romeo Okwara came to Notre Dame in a similar situation where it looked like he had the frame to grow into a DE but so far he has stuck at OLB. It’s very possible that Bonner will do the same.
One thing is for sure though – Bonner is very much a Brian Kelly type recruit. Kelly and this staff have shown the ability to rack up 4 and 5-star recruits since their arrival, but they have also shown no hesitation in offering scholarships to under the radar recruits that perform well in front of them during camps.
Jonathan Bonner has multiple ties to Notre Dame
Despite seemingly coming out of nowhere in the last few days, Jonathan Bonner has a lot of ties to Notre Dame. His uncle, Dan Knott played for Notre Dame in the 70’s as a running back and was a member of the 1977 National Championship team.
Bonner also has a tie Sergio Brown as well. The recent Notre Dame grad and member of the Indianapolis Colts is the godson of Bonner’s grandfather.
Those ties have made Notre Dame Bonner’s dream school growing up which is one of the reasons he acted so quickly upon receiving a scholarship offer from Notre Dame this week.
Jonathan Bonner junior year highlights
Below are some highlights from Bonner’s junior year as an OLB/DE on defense as well as a TE on offense. Bonner is also seen playing special teams at times as well on punt coverage in the clip.