Jonathan Bonner Commits to Notre Dame

Notre Dame Recruiting - Jonatahn Bonner Commits!
Notre Dame picked up a commitment on Wednesday from OLB Jonathan Bonner although the pass rushing specialist could end up on the defensive line for the Irish before all is said and done. (Photo: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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  1. I agree 100% with you Pete re the talent identification process of ND coaches. Justin Brent seems to be a case in pt. for 2014 the same as David Robinson’s son was in 2013. Both kids were 3 star when ND offered them. Brent is now a 4 star listing and by the end of this high school season may jump again. Not much use looking at who ESPN ranks as 4-5 star recruits in December before national signing day 3 months later. You want to be talking to the next Manti Teo when no one else knows about the kid. Have not seen any mention of Kizer at the Oregon camp among the elite QB’s. Wondering if he also might turn out to be a “diamond in the rough” by Sept nest year. Good read as always Pete. Much appreciated. Cheers Dale

  2. All I can say is here come the irish.notre dame football is on a comeback, while you will see some sec,pac12,big10. on a down swing. Patience does pay off. And yes I know it’s been 20 or30yrs but great things come to those that wait. Go irish………

  3. The most common fan reaction to the commitment of Jonathan Bonner was probably ‘Who?’ followed by the worry that Kelly’s staff had reached for a second-tier prospect because none of the elite seemed likely to commit.

    That does not appear to be the case. There is a definite similarity to KLM’s high school tape. Bonner looks like a developing D-End. And if Jonathan has added 15 pounds of muscle to his frame since last season, it is no wonder he was a handful for our elite recruits. The staff saw a player in person that no one else has seen, a player even better than his highlights.

    And as an ND grad, I love to see new recruits who already love ND. I think Jonathan Bonner will make us all proud.

    1. ARMAC,two things. As time goes by, this staff’s ability to identify talent becomes more vivid. The first year, the 2010 class, they were scrambling, and things like Roback and Heggie occured.

      Golson is an example. They knew what they had in him, even if the recruiting services didn.t

      And they really are getting the NDRKG’s. Tillery was as
      smitten by Sacred Heart as Steve Elmer was. It is some delicious irony that each was the first commit in their class.

      Check back on Diaco’s tape segment on from 2013 Letter of Intent Day. It has some lucid, Diacoesque,
      comments about “alignment” and you will find that he agrees with you.

      1. Duranko, sometimes they seem to take a commit because they need a body. Maybe the top two athletes at a position are struggling academically and a third is hinting at transfer – but when the season comes, everyone is suited up. We never hear why they picked up the extra kid.

        The staff looks at thousands of athletes in person and on video. Bonner’s junior film is strong and his performance at camp sealed the deal. He is not just another body. He has good size, a quick burst, surprising speed, uses his hands well, and plays smart. And apparently he beat some very good O-linemen in camp.

        The Irish need D-linemen. Both ND and Jonathan Bonner got lucky. I look forward to seeing him play.

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