“I’m think I'm up to about 19 offers," Bonds reported. "My mom is all happy and proud. She has been hanging them up on the wall. She has about 12 or 13 hung up now and about seven or eight more that she hasn’t hung up yet. Auburn, Michigan State, Florida State, and Maryland are some of the most recent ones.”
As excited as Bonds is about the opportunities being placed in front of him, recruiting just isn’t his primary focus at this point in time. An epiphany early in his high school career taught him that he had to keep his priorities straight.
“Two years ago football was all I really cared about,” Bonds recalled. “I’m not going to lie. I let my grades slip freshman year. I was 14 years old playing on varsity and it was like, ‘oh my gosh!’ I had a body like (former teammate and current Michigan Wolverine) Adam Patterson. Not as diesel has he was, but a little bit taller than him. Everybody was on me saying, ‘look, you have a serious opportunity to play college and maybe NFL football. You can’t make it with that kind of work ethic and grades in the classroom.’ Just hearing that definitely kick started my grades. Academics are definitely the first thing on my list now. When I go to visit colleges, academic advisors are the usually the first ones I ask to talk to. I want to meet the coaches, but show me the academic advisors. I went to Alabama and I arrived about an hour before the junior day just so I could talk to him.”
Patterson is but one of many of Bonds’ acquaintances that have gone through the recruiting process. He also has ties to players at Notre Dame, Maryland, and South Carolina, but when he chats with them the conversation doesn’t always center around what school he should attend. That certainly was the case in his recent interaction with Patterson.
“I don’t have a chance to talk to Adam that much, but I did I talk to him about three or four weeks ago,” said Bonds. “We didn’t even talk about football though. During this whole process I’ve gone to school and heard from my teammates and my classmates about every college. When I talked to Adam, we just caught up. I played with him for a year and then I haven’t seen him in like two, so it was just catch-up time. Right now I kind of really like not talking about it, if you can believe that (laughing). Growing up I was a little fat kid with glasses. I was the little nerdy kid in class. I got no attention. Now I’m 6-4 and built and it’s weird having all of this attention when you come from being the little fat nerdy kid in class.”
As daunting as all of the attention is, Bonds remains thankful for the interest he is receiving from acoss the country. Furthermore, he welcomes more suitors to enter the equation no matter how far away from home they might be.
“I’m open minded to any college for the most part,” he said. “Distance definitely isn’t really a factor. I’ve been out-of-state and away from my parents for a couple weeks at a time. One time I spent most of my Christmas break in L.A. by myself while my sister went to Germany for three weeks. Once (his parents) experience that empty nest syndrome for like a week or two, they’ll get over it. My mom loves me…and I’m sure every mom loves their child…but she knows I’m strong -kid. If there is something I want, I go after it. Wherever I choose to go she said she’d support me. She’s going to know that I’m going to be doing the right thing so she’s not going to worry.”
Michigan is by no means a stone’s throw from South Carolina, but as the youngster explained, that has not diminished their standing in his recruitment.
“It’s definitely a good school and I’m so very anxious to see what Coach Rodriguez is going to do,” said Bonds. “I think he has some big shoes to fill. I’m definitely anxious to visit. Notre Dame and Michigan are two of the big schools that have offered me along with Southern Cal. Two years ago my mom married my step father, but a couple years before they got married I found out he was a big Michigan fan. He always talked about he Big House and the Wolverines. He played NCAA Football (the video game) and Michigan is all he would play with. That’ when I kind of got my first taste of Michigan, the Big House and what it means to be a Wolverine. I’m definitely definitely anxious visit.”
Despite the mention of Notre Dame, Michigan, and USC as a few of his bigger offers, Bonds stopped short of calling those programs his favorites. Trimming down his list appears to be a task that won’t happen for quite some time.
“I haven’t really visited most of the places that I want to visit, so I don’t really have a list (of favorites) yet,” Bonds explained. “I’ve been to Alabama, Georgia, Virginia, Southern Cal…but that’s just a drop in the bucket when you consider all of the other schools that have offered. I can only go by what I’ve seen. I liked Southern Cal and I liked Alabama, but who’s to say that I’m not going to like Michigan when I go up there. Who’s to say that I’m not going to love it more than Alabama when I go up there.”
“I’ll sit down Christmas time with my family and finally discuss (recruiting),” he continued. “It’s not only a decision that affects me… it affects my parents and people around me too. I’m supposed to play in the Army or the Under Armour bowl. I can’t really decide which one yet. Plus in South Carolina we have the Shrine Bowl. After I get done with two of those... probably in January… I’ll hopefully know where I want to go.”