Jun 27, 2013, 9:13 AM EDT
It didn’t take long for linebacker-defensive end Jonathan Bonner to make up his mind. After an impressive performance at Notre Dame’s lineman challenge, the Irish coaching staff offered the 6-foot-4, 245-pounder from suburban St. Louis a scholarship and Bonner jumped on the offer, becoming the thirteenth member of the ’14 recruiting class.
Bonner’s commitment came as a surprise to many Irish fans, an off-the-radar name that many didn’t see coming. Yet Bonner’s productive summer has earned him scholarship offers at multiple summer camps, with his recent performance at Missouri’s camp netting him an offer as well. Bonner ended up choosing the Irish over offers from the hometown Tigers, Michigan State, Illinois, Indiana, Purdue and a slew of lesser established programs.
The Irish believe they are getting another Cat linebacker prospect, a position that will need some reinforcements in the near future with Prince Shembo in his final year of eligibility and Ishaq Williams entering his junior season. Bonner has the size, speed and athleticism to be productive as a high school tight end, and showed excellent pass rush prowess in South Bend.
Bonner is a lifelong Notre Dame fan, making the decision to commit to the Irish an easy one.
“This was a big offer for me,” Bonner told BlueandGold.com’s Tom Loy. “It’s the school I grew up cheering for as a kid and so did my family. It’s really been my dream to play here and the offer was one that I’ve always wanted.”
That the Irish staff got a good look at Bonner before offering him says a lot about what they believe they have in Bonner. At a legit 6-foot-3 or 6-foot-4, Bonner has the prototype length needed to play Cat linebacker, and his seven touchdown catches gives you an idea of his athleticism.
With inside linebacker a pressing need in this recruiting class, many wonder if Bonner is the type of athlete that shifts inside and fills a need there. That’s not the initial plan for the staff, that believes they’re uncovering a talented prospect that has a great natural ability to play both standing up or with a hand on the ground.
Bonner joins Andrew Trumbetti, Jay Hayes and Greer Martini as defensive recruits in the current class, a number sure to grow.