The Irish have done very well in recruiting top prospects from the Greater Catholic League in Ohio.
One of the top 2019 prospects from that talent-heavy Catholic division is Elder High School defensive end Spencer Bono. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound recruit racked up 45 tackles, 10 sacks and three forced fumbles during his sophomore season.
Despite growing up in Buckeye country, Bono has always admired Notre Dame.
“I grew up loving them, Bono said. “My entire life, I’ve liked Notre Dame. Growing up in Cincinnati, you either like Notre Dame or Ohio State. Pretty much, I’ve always liked Notre Dame. Now that I’ve gotten more mature and grown up, I’ve realized that academics are more important than football.”
Bono understands the opportunities on and off the field that student-athletes receive at Notre Dame.
“Notre Dame isn’t just a football factory,” Bono said. “It’s more than just the NFL, you still get a really good degree because it’s Notre Dame.”
Last summer, Bono got his first taste of Irish football at a summer camp in South Bend.
“I was at camp last year,” Bono said. “I love the campus and it’s really beautiful and it’s one of the greatest campuses that I’ve been to.”
The Notre Dame coaching staff took note of Bono’s talent and productive sophomore season. He’ll be attending Notre Dame’s elite linemen camp on Saturday with his parents and his brother.
“Mike Elston, the defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator, my coach told me to give him a call and he talked about going to the camp,” Bono said. “He said he was really excited to have me up there and I can’t wait. Coach Kelly followed me on Twitter and sent me a camp registration.”
The Notre Dame staff has been successful in building a relationship with Bono. The promising defensive end has received impactful advice from their defensive line coach.
“(Elston) is really enthusiastic about football and he’s really good at explaining what we’re good at and what we need to work on,” Bono said. “It really meant a lot coming from a big-time program where coach is really down to earth and not just saying good things about you, he’s saying what you should improve on. It’s awesome having a coach like that.”
Elder High School is well-known to Notre Dame considering it turned out Pro Bowl tight end Kyle Rudolph and sophomore offensive lineman Tommy Kraemer.
“If I were to go to Notre Dame, I would be the 18th player from Elder to go to Notre Dame,” Bono said. “Tommy is there right now. I wouldn’t be surprised if he started this year. He’s a really good player and kind of a role model to me.
“I think he’s the kind of player that can play any position on the offensive line. He’s that good.”
Bono has had an Irish offer in mind since grade school.
“That would mean pretty much the world to me,” Bono said. “I remember back in sixth-grade, we had to write about what we were going to do when we were older, what’s our dream thing to do. And I wrote ‘playing defensive end for the University for Notre Dame.’ When I graduated from eighth-grade, I was voted most likely to play defensive end at Notre Dame. If I could make that dream come true, it would mean the world to me.
“I’m going to compete and prove to the coaches that I’m someone they should have on their team. That’s what I’m really looking forward to.”