Since 2019 defensive end Spencer Bono has grown up in Cincinnati, Ohio one would assume that his favorite school would probably be Ohio State. However, that is not even his favorite school in the Big Ten. His favorite is the Spartans in East Lansing.
Bono’s fandom stems from being different from everyone around him, but still wanting a high level of success. Bono always found himself around Ohio State and Michigan fans and never felt a connection to either of those schools. Michigan State fit because not only was it a different school, but it was a school that has had a lot of recent success against the standard choices. He always enjoys seeing the reactions of the people around him when Michigan State beats one of them.
“Growing up in Cincinnati, everyone loves Michigan or Ohio State, but Michigan State is one of the only schools that can beat those two,” Bono told Spartan Nation. “I just love seeing my neighbors get all mad when Michigan State beats Ohio State. I’ve never been a fan of Ohio State growing up so it’s cool seeing Michigan State be as successful as they have been.”
Bono has yet to talk to a coach at Michigan State personally, but that is likely due to the fact that he is still only a sophomore at Elder High School. Even though he has not had a personal conversation, assistant head coach, co-defensive coordinator and defensive back coach Harlon Barnett visited Elder to talk to Bono’s head coach, Doug Ramsey. Bono was given a few forms to fill out that were taken back to East Lansing and accepted an invitation to attend a camp on June 17.
He's hoping that he will be able to get the chance to visit the campus too while he is up there as he wants to see what Michigan State has to offer.
“I just want to get on the campus and see everything there is to show,” Bono told Spartan Nation.
Although Bono’s recruitment process as only just begun, he has already talked to a few schools and received a couple offers.
His very first offer was from Iowa and it is something that Bono said he will never forget. He said was only slightly interested in the Hawkeyes, but that changed when they became his first offer. Getting that first offer was so important to him that Iowa will always be a special place his heart and he is really interested in checking out the campus despite not attending a camp there this summer.
“I’ve never really been the biggest fan of Iowa, but getting an offer from them will always stick in my mind. I will always think of Iowa as the first school to offer me and they will always have a place in my heart,” Bono told Spartan Nation. “They have a really good defense as well, just like Michigan State. I like them a lot too.”
One of the other offers Bono has already received is from Toledo. Similar to Iowa, Bono was really surprised by the offer and has gained more interest in the school after getting a chance to meet the coaching staff.
“Toledo was really unexpected as well. I’ve never been a huge fan of Toledo, but I love talking to all the coaches,” Bono told Spartan Nation. “It was cool meeting them.”
The other offer he received was from his hometown university of Cincinnati. It was quite an experience and unexpected for Bono as well. Coach Ramsey called him into his office one day, handed him the phone and on the other end of it was Cincinnati’s head coach, Luke Fickell. It was quite surprising, but also exciting for Bono as he thinks very highly of Fickell and he wants to visit soon.
“I was blown away and really surprised because I think coach Fickell is one of the best coaches in the country and he has developed a really good recruiting class at Cincinnati,” Bono told Spartan Nation. “I was extremely surprised to be talking to coach Fickell and I’m trying to visit in the next few weeks.”
However, Bono has yet to hear from his other favorite team, Notre Dame. He attended a three-day camp last year and visited with sophomore offensive lineman Tommy Kraemer who also attended Elder. He enjoyed seeing the campus, but currently does not plan to attend camp there this year as he has not heard much interest from the university, but that is subject to change.
“I haven’t heard anything from Notre Dame honestly, but I attended their three-day camp last year and it was a lot of fun. The campus is very beautiful and Tommy Kraemer showed me around campus and everything,” Bono told Spartan Nation. “It was really awesome. I liked it a lot there. I don’t think I’ll be attending camp there this year, because I haven’t heard much from them, but that could change.”
Moving forward, the 6-foot-4 and 220 pound defensive end is really looking to improve his strength and ability to get past double teams. When Bono is able to shed blocks, he can disrupt any play. So far, he has already gained 30 pounds since last season and is confident that if he continues to grow he will be able to get through those pesky double teams and be able to accomplish his goals for the upcoming season.
“I need to gain more weight and focus on improving on run defense. I think my biggest focus this off season is working on double teams. I pretty much got doubled teamed a lot last year and I just got to make sure I can break out of it and get a tackle for a loss,” Bono told Spartan Nation. “I can’t wait for this season because I think I’ll be able to do everything I want to do.”
Although football is his what he is focusing his future on, he has not let it distract him in the class room. Academics is important for him especially because he gets a great education from Elder. According to Bono, he averaged 88 percent in his classes and takes the highest level classes he’s allowed. He would like to major in sports administration in college or work with sports in some way as that is his passion.
Bono is enjoying the recruiting process as much as he can, because football is so important to him. It is an opportunity not a lot of people ever get and makes football as a future a real possibility. He loves it and is have fun despite some of the stressful parts that come from it.
“I love it a lot. It is a little stressful, I will admit, but it’s a lot of fun because football is everything to me,” Bono told Spartan Nation. “Football is what I want to do in my future and I’m really honored to be talking to all these coaches and given the opportunity to be recruited.”
The most stressful part for Bono is getting coaches to notice him and look at his film. According to Bono, since he is a sophomore, there are some restrictions in place that limit contact with coaches that are potentially interested. Bono has to be the one who initiates it and spends all his free time trying to get coaches to notice. He estimates that he has sent over 100 emails to coaches trying to get them to recruit him. It is quite stressful for him and causes him to worry sometimes because of how much he cares about his football future.
“If you want to be recruited you kind of have to go out of your way. You have to call, message or email them. I’ve sent over 100 emails trying to get coaches to see my film. That’s pretty much what I do in my free time. I try to get coaches to notice me and do whatever I can to get recruited,” Bono told Spartan Nation. “Football is the only thing I want to do in my future and I get stressed out about it. I shouldn’t, but I do.”
Bono added that his family has been a major help in getting him to where he is today and how he would not be able to do this without them. His mother takes good care of him making sure he is eating right and his brothers help make sure he is gaining the weight he needs to be. Not only do they help with major day to day stuff like that, but they are a major factor in why is he even able to attend campus around the country and visit schools.
“[My family] is there for me all the time. I couldn’t do anything without them. My mom wakes up early and makes me breakfast and lunch. My brothers constantly make me protein shakes and make sure I stay on top of my calorie count so I’m gaining weight,” Bono told Spartan Nation. “They bring me around the country, they pay for my camps and everything. I couldn’t do it without them and I’m blessed to have my family.”
Bono has no timetable on when he would like to commit. He wants to make sure he gets to visit all the schools interested in him and find his personal best fit before he makes a decision.
“I want to get around to all the campuses and find what fits best for me,” Bono told Spartan Nation.
Stay tuned to Spartan Nation for more on Bono moving forward.