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Jonathan Bonner commits to Notre Dame

Jun 27, 2013, 9:13 AM EDT

Jonathan Bonner

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.

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  1. dudeacow - Jun 27, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    This guy is one of my favorite, if not my favorite, commits to the ’14 class, just like Rashad Kinlaw was to the ’13 class. I love under-the-radar guys who have obvious talent. This guy won EVERY SINGLE one-on-one challenge at ND’s camp, and that was against four-stars like Alex Bars and Jimmy Byrne and five-stars like Quenton Nelson. Sometimes you need a guy who is talented but won’t arrive with all of the fanfare that accompanies five-star recruits. This is that guy.

    • ibleedirish - Jun 27, 2013 at 1:06 PM

      That is really great to hear. Were you at the camp? Anyone else stand out that we may have a chance at signing?

      • dudeacow - Jun 27, 2013 at 1:46 PM

        One thing I forgot to mention is that Kelly said to Jonathan that “they couldn’t find anyone to beat him.” I think that bodes well. And no, I wasn’t at the camp, but both Holley and Elam came away very impressed with ND. I would give us a good shot at signing both.

    • gtizzo - Jun 27, 2013 at 2:50 PM

      Agree completely and your on the money. Getting that under the radar guy never a bad thing.

    • jmfinsd - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:16 PM

      dudeacow – Sounds like you have some good insight. Hope you’re correct.

      However, “This guy won EVERY SINGLE one-on-one challenge at ND’s camp, and that was against four-stars like Alex Bars and Jimmy Byrne and five-stars like Quenton Nelson” bothers me a little. A 3-star beating 4 & 5-stars EVERY SINGLE time?? Either he’s an emerging beast – which would be awesome – or those he beat are overrated – which is what bothers me a little. I agree a guy who is talented but doesn’t arrive with all the hoopla of five-star recruits is great, but if he’s already displayed his prowess in camp,he’ll do so during his senior year and won’t be under-the-radar anymore.

      • dudeacow - Jun 28, 2013 at 1:59 PM

        Actually, you’re right. It appears that I misread a report, and he didn’t win every single time. He just never lost. So it seems like sometimes it was a tie, I guess, but the important thing is is he performed extremely well.

  2. kiopta1 - Jun 27, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    Too many are negative on this pickup. I think he is a diamond in the rough that this staff thinks they can turn into a strong contributor down the road. Needs to build strength (lower), quickness, and making reads/moving in space. Seems to be a anyplace LB but most likely a CAT.

  3. mediocrebob - Jun 27, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    I don’t see us getting both but hey, I’m just Mediocre Bob

    • papadec - Jun 27, 2013 at 5:08 PM

      I’d be happy with either one – if not both.

  4. padomer - Jun 27, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    Yea this pickup is huge, reminds me of a TCU strategy. Pick up a freak athlete and plug him in where necessary after some schooling. Has the athleticism to be a star……Dude, do you have any news on Lorenzo Carter’s trip?

  5. 10of14 - Jun 28, 2013 at 8:02 PM

    Why the continued hype over a “star” rating? The ratings come from folks that never played the game beyond Pop Warner or are Oscar Madison types. I will take a coaches opinion who took his team to the National Championship game last year over any Star rating or bad dressing basement trolling, self-proclaimed recruiting guru (creepy).

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