• Class: Senior (Eligibility: 2)
• On The Depth Chart: Bonner ran with the No. 1 unit at defensive tackle in all but one open practice to the media this spring.
• Post-Spring Status: Ascending
Bonner came to Notre Dame as a defensive end-outside linebacker-tight end out of Parkway Central High School in Chesterfield, Mo. He was named the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Defensive Player of the Year in 2013 when he made 70 tackles and 17 sacks as a senior. He caught a 57-yard touchdown pass in the Missouri Class 5 state title game. Bonner finished his prep career with 206 tackles and 34 sacks.
Bonner, the 79th-ranked defensive end on Scout, was one of seven three-star prospects in Notre Dame’s 23-man signing Class of 2014 and one of seven defensive line prospects, along with Daniel Cage, Jay Hayes, Andrew Trumbetti, Pete Mokwuah, Grant Blankenship and Jhonathon Williams.
Of those seven freshman defensive linemen in 2014, only Bonner and Mokwuah preserved a year of eligibility. Following turf-toe surgery in the spring, Bonner played in 10 games and totaled five sacks as a red-shirt freshman in ’15, finishing with five tackles, including an 11-yard sack against Wake Forest while forcing a fumble on the play.
Bonner played in all 12 games as a red-shirt sophomore in 2016. He recorded four tackles versus Army, and two each against Syracuse and Stanford. Bonner had three quarterback hurries in ‘16
BONNER AT HIS BEST
In addition to his sack/fumble forced vs. Wake Forest in ’15, Bonner made his only career start to date in Notre Dame’s 44-6 victory over Army in Game 10 of the 2016 season. Bonner had four tackles and a quarterback hurry against the Black Knights.
“I’d say I’m a versatile player. It doesn’t matter where I play. I’ve practiced at all the positions, so I’m prepared for any position.” -- Bonner
BEST CASE SCENARIO
Bonner wins the battle in August against a nondescript/inexperienced group of competitors at the three-technique, enters the 2017 season as a starter, and maintains control of the starting spot. Bonner overcomes his tweener size after packing on some pounds over the summer and becomes a steady if not big-player performer at three-technique.
WORST CASE SCENARIO
At the end of spring, Bonner’s main competition at three-technique was Micah Dew-Treadway. More likely to unseat Bonner would be red-shirt sophomore Elijah Taylor, who missed virtually all of spring football with a significant foot injury after coming on strong late in the ’16 season. Freshman Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa could provide the length to threaten Bonner for playing time.
After preserving a year as a freshman in 2001, 6-foot-4, 283-pound Brian Beidatsch saw action behind Ryan Roberts at right end, making two stops as a red-shirt freshman in ‘02. As a red-shirt sophomore in ’03, Beidatsch make five tackles and assisted on a quarterback sack. He saw action at defensive tackle against Michigan and recovered a fumble. He moved to tackle full-time behind Trevor Laws as a red-shirt senior in 2005 with a career-best four tackles against Navy.