It's hard to say that recent trips to Cal and Stanford were a surprise. There are a lot of things you expect. But when it comes to the campuses themselves, compared to recent trips to Nebraska ,Colorado and Kansas, this duo was a bit different.
"They both had different feels from the other, but both were laid out really well. They were a lot bigger than other places I had been," Bonnell said. "I guess Stanford has the largest campus in the country. They have their own golf course, a nature park – just call kinds of stuff,"
While the campus make up was important, that was hardly the focus of the visit, Bonnell looking at what these two institutions had in regard to that, but athletics and academics as well. Of course, it's not hard to figure where Stanford stood when it comes to the latter criteria. "They are up there with the Ivy Leagues. Their academic reputation is right up there with the best, from Harvard to MIT," he said. "Cal is another great academic institution.
"Stanford may not be known for great football right now, but it looks like they have a lot of potential. And as for Cal, I really liked the school and how they had everything set up."
When trying to make comparisons to the other schools he's seen, there are areas where the others may not match up, but there are others which some of the previous schools visited might have a slight edge. That's where the inner-battle will take place as Bonnell said he's going to try and figure out for himself where the best balancing act between athletics and academics exists.
For Husker fans, they will be delighted in knowing that after the visit Nebraska still exists in his mind as one of the top programs on his list. "They are still really high for me. It's a school that has good academics, but they have a football tradition that to me, is in a league of its own," he said. "They may not be at the top right now, but I think they will get there in the next couple of years."
Dillon said that he has no other plans over this so-called off-season when it comes to visits that he plans to make. But that could change based on some recent attention. There might be some confidence in Husker land that they still have as good of a shot at Bonnell as any other. Heck, some might even think they lead. But that could change if this other school steps up to the table, officially. "I have been talking to USC lately, and it's really hard to say where that's at now, so we are just seeing how it goes," Bonnell said. "I think they may be close to offering."
Call that a monkey wrench in the works for all those other schools Bonnell is considering, because if the Trojans really want a player, they aren't many they don't eventually get. But that's putting the cart before the horse for this Colorado prep lineman. He's only thinking about what he knows and what his prospects are in the future. "I don't have a timeframe on my decision, but I am happy with the visits I have taken and all that I have learned on my trips," he said. "If something happens with USC, I'll just look at that and see how it all fits in. But I'm still really exploring the options I have right now, and I know it's going to be a tough decision. But I have had a great experience with all the places I have seen at this point."
Check out a recent scouting report done on Dillon as regional analyst Baron Flenory Jr. breaks down this "mauler", as he likes to call him.
Stay tuned to Big Red Report as we will keep you up to date on the latest with Bonnell, and see if USC does indeed pull the trigger on an offer for one of the faster rising names at the position this recruiting season.