Juco Defensive End Signs With Tigers

Auburn added a junior college defensive lineman on Wednesday.

Fullerton, Cal.--Looking for help on the defensive front the Auburn Tigers decided to go the junior college route on Wednesday as longtime commitment Joel Bonomolo made it official when he signed his Letter of Intent to be a Tiger.

A 6-2 ½, 245-pounder with good speed and quickness off the edge, Bonomolo was a standout at Fullerton College after playing high school football at Archbishop Rummel in Metairie, La. Despite interest from LSU, Arizona, Arizona State, Washington and several more big-time programs, Bonomolo chose Gene Chizik's club following an unofficial visit back in July and signed on Wednesday.

"The main thing for me is just the coaching staff," Bonomolo told Inside The Auburn Tigers. "I felt comfortable there. I just felt like it's a place where I could succeed. It's the biggest stage in college football playing in the SEC. It's just a great fit for me.

"I'm so excited," he added. "I can't wait to get started. It's what I have been wanting to do. Coming to junior college I had my mind set on playing in the SEC. Finally it's going to happen. I'm so excited. I can't put it in words. I can't wait to show what I can do."

Taking his official visit to Auburn last weekend, Bonomolo was already sold on the Tigers and his future on the Plains, but said he needed to get a feel for the things he had to do in the classroom to ensure he comes in ready to go in the summer.

"I was already at home there after I committed to them this summer," Bonomolo said. "The main reason I went there was to see on paper what I had to do. I have about 17 more hours I have to take. I just wanted to see that on paper. That's all the visit was basically. I don't want to mess things up. I messed up in high school and I didn't want to do that again."

A standout as a freshman for Fullerton, Bonomolo had a rough 2009 season as he played only sparingly in blowouts the first four weeks before injuring his shoulder in week five. He still managed four sacks on the season, but underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum. Now on the road to recovery, Bonomolo said he should be full strength in another month and will be ready to go when he arrives in Auburn this summer.

"I'm in the gym right now," Bonomolo said. "I'm doing great. My recovery has gone great. I'm just trying not to over do things. I should be 100 percent in another month and a half."

Because of his injury last season Bonomolo has requested a medical hardship season although it's unlikely to happen based on his amount of playing time. If he's able to get that he would have three seasons left to play for the Tigers. If not he'll have three years to play two with a redshirt available.

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