Coach Brian Kelly received his 13th verbal commitment for the 2014 class yesterday from DE/LB Jonathan Bonner (Chesterfield, MO - Parkway Central). He is listed at 6'4"/250 lbs and a reported 4.80 sec 40 yard time.
Bonner camped at Notre Dame last week. He impressed the staff enough to earn a scholarship offer and promptly accepted. He has been impressing teams at various camps, earning offers from Tennessee, Purdue, Missouri and Michigan State in the last few weeks. While he might not be rated highly by many services, his recent performances will earn some additional looks from the experts.
Recruiting Service Rankings:
ESPN - Not Yet Rated
Rivals - 3 star, 5.6 Grade
Scout - Not Yet Rated
247Sports - 3 star (#46 SDE, #17 MO), 83 Grade
247Sports Composite Score - 3 star (0.8300, #53 SDE, #21 MO)
Bonner's immediate impact depends on a number of factors, but mainly on what position he will play at the college level. There has been a bit of debate as to where exactly he projects-some say 3-4 DE, some the hybrid DE/LB (Cat LB) spot, and others still think he could play at ILB. Based on his highlights (and some prospects still on the board), I think he will end up as a 3-4 DE. This will force him to sit as a freshman and get into the 280+ lb range.
Bonner is an interesting prospect, but as a DE he should remind fans of the recently drafted Kapron Lewis-Moore. He has a similar frame (but 25 additional pounds) at the high school level and plays with the same kind of motor that KLM showed over the past four seasons. He is relentless in pursuing the ball carrier or quarterback, but still maintains edge discipline. His highlights show a great ability to use his hands and shed blockers, which is reaffirmed by the fact that he also plays TE at the prep level.
While he may have some work to do in the weight room and adding the necessary weight to play at DE (assuming that is where he ends up), he is rising prospect and good fit for what the staff likes to do defensively.
Welcome to Notre Dame Jonathan!