Chris Bonds is not a typical high level prospect in that he never followed college football as a youngster. Coming into this process he didn't have a favorite team, allowing him to stay pretty open to what the schools that have offered him a scholarship.
"As a kid I didn't see sports as a meal ticket so to speak. I was kind of the nerdy fat kid, but football was an escape for me. As I got older I just played everything. I guess I got the athletic ability from my father. My step-dad is a Michigan fan, so growing up it was always the maize and blue. My mom used to live in Tennessee, so we had Tennessee stuff, too. Other than watching it on television, I never really followed college football as a kid."
While he didn't watch as a kid, the recruiting process has caused Chris to pay attention to what schools are doing now. Some of the top programs in the nation have extended him an offer, and he feels the process is going well so far.
"Recruiting has been going good. Coaches from Auburn and Tennessee called me lately. Other than that right now it is kind of slow with the offers coming in. I'd say I have a good 20 offers right now from schools like Southern Cal, Notre Dame, Michigan, Florida State, Miami, South Carolina and Tennessee. The schools that have offered me have been hound-dogging me with mail. They show that they've offered me and all that and send me a ton of stuff. One school that offered me was Harvard. They were saying how they want me to play football for them. I was like, wow, the education is great, but I want football and a good education."
One of the schools that have come after Bonds lately is Florida State. Chris says that when he got the offer he was pleasantly surprised. While he doesn't know a lot about the Seminoles, a recent visit from recruiting coordinator James Coley has caught his interest.
"When Florida State offered me I was like whoa, the Florida State Seminoles offered me. When schools like them and Miami offered, I was ecstatic. While I don't know much about them, programs like FSU are top-flight. I don't know much about college football but I know about how they play. I always liked watching the Bowden Bowl, and I always pulled for FSU because I don't like Clemson."
"I want to major in engineering. Coach Coley was telling me about how FSU and FAMU have a joint program and that they have all this major equipment. That brightened up my eyes. I love working with my hands and that really caught my interest. Coach Coley was telling me if that is my thing I should go for it. We talked about the depth issues and all that stuff. He was telling me how the area is and what the university is about. The offer piqued my interest in FSU."
Even though Chris is open to the process, he has an idea of schools that he wants to visit. He's been out to USC and enjoyed the visit there, and the ties he has to programs like Notre Dame and Michigan will lead to him taking a trip to those schools sometime this summer.
"I'm anxious to visit a lot of schools. I know I am going to visit Tennessee over the summer. I spent a week out in California and I really like USC. I want to go visit Michigan and see how Adam Patterson is going. He was like my idol when I was 14. When I started playing ball at 14 I was like man, look at this guy. I wanted to go up against him ass much as I could and I think he really helped me out. Also my friend Gary Gray went to Notre Dame, and I want to see what the programs have done for them."
"If I have the opportunity to visit Florida State I will jump on it. A lo of factors like the economy and everything will play into it. My mom and step-father work a lot, so if I can get down there I will. Looking at the official visits, I know that I want to visit USC, Notre Dame and Michigan, so the other two are up for grabs. Right now I am looking at Florida State and Miami as the other two."
Taking these visits is important to Chris because the biggest factor going into his decision is that he can attend the school of his choice for 4 years. Knowing that he can live there and succeed is what he is looking for.
"The biggest factor is being there. By that I mean do I want to be there and can I excel. I want to visit as many schools as possible. Not being cocky, but I have a great opportunity. There are a ton of high school athletes, so having all of these offers is awesome. But I need to see if I can go a certain college and be able to start my life there."
Look for a decision from some time in late December or early January. He says he has thought about how he is going to make the decision, jokingly saying it may come down to a coin flip.
"I was telling my parents that it may come down to a coin flip right before signing day. My parents didn't like that at all and my mom is huffing about it right now (laughs). But I want to make the decision around Christmas time or right before I play in the Army All-American game. By that time I should have all of my officials done and have an educated decision made."
If Bonds makes a trip to FSU, the Seminoles have just a good a shot as any school. The engineering program and campus lifestyle may play more of a part in Bonds' decision at this time, but look for the depth chart to come into play as the process continues. For FSU to have a shot, they must get a visit. Stay tuned to NoleDigest for further updates with Chris and the rest of the 2009 recruiting class.