Before stopping by A.C. Flora High to see 2008 prospect Kenneth Page, Irish head coach Charlie Weis and assistant Bill Lewis stopped by Richland Northeast High to drop off a written scholarship offer for four-star junior defensive end Chris Bonds.
"I haven't even told him yet," Richland Northeast head coach Jay Frye said.
That's because the 6-foot-3, 250-pound Bonds has been at home recovering from a torn ACL. He tore it the 10th game of the season. Before going down, he had around 70 tackles and five sacks.
"I don't really remember how it happened but what was going through my mind, I don't know. I never talked to anyone about an ACL tear before," Bonds began. This was his first ever major injury. "I just felt a pop in my knee and I went down. I tried to get up and my knee was rolled over. I just kind of freaked out. The doctor told me when they were taking me to the hospital that it was probably torn.
"It's been a lot better. Therapy has been great. That is pretty much the highlight of my day until I get to go back to school. It's a lot better than I thought it would be because I never had surgery before."
Bonds will drop by the school tomorrow afternoon, where Frye looks forward to telling him about his latest offer.
Bonds, a high school teammate of Notre Dame freshman cornerback Gary Gray, said he's been out of the loop a little bit while recovering from his surgery, and didn't know how many scholarship offers he has.
"I'd say, 15 to 20, Frye said. "South Carolina, Clemson, Tennessee, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, to name a few. All of these schools are recruiting him hard. Southern Cal talks like they're going to offer."
February is around the time Bonds said he'll be ready to go. Frye said he'll likely hold Bonds out of spring football, but everyone is expecting him to be fully healthy for his senior season.
"He's an outstanding young man," Frye stated. Bonds has a 3.2 GPA. "He does a great job in the classroom. Next season we'll be looking for a lot of leadership out of him. He is the only defensive lineman I can remember that has ever started as a freshman here. We've had a couple skill guys but not a lineman.
"He's just a big, physical, strong kid. He's 6-3-and-a-half, 6-4, and power cleans 320, 330, right in there, so he is extremely strong. He's a good athlete as well. He's big, quick and agile. Just has a great burst coming off the football."
Lewis and Irish assistant John Latina also came by the school a little bit over a week ago, when they were in town visiting Page as well.
Another thing Bonds hasn't done much of while recovering and catching up on his school work, is sift through his mail. There is plenty of it, including a lot from Notre Dame.
"When school started this year, sophomore and freshman year I would get a couple letters here and there," Bonds said. "This year when school started and our season started, I would go to my locker before school and I would pick up four or five letters. Coach Frye would put them in my locker. By lunch time, I'd come back and there would be stacks of like 20 letters. I would come home and get the mail and there would be 20 more letters in there."
Bonds has seen the campuses of Clemson and South Carolina. Both aren't far from home. He has also been down to Georgia for a Nike camp. He hopes to hit the road soon and start checking out schools. He's been discussing it with his parents.
"I do want to check out most of the northern campuses like Notre Dame and Michigan during the winter to see how cold it gets up there. Just to see what kind of weather it is, because I know down here it gets real crappy sometimes, real humid. I know it gets cold up there, but I do like the cold though.
"I travel to California a lot. I wanted to see the Southern Cal campus, because I have family out there."
Notre Dame is definitely a school Bonds will consider, and he wants to major in either engineering or an architecture program of some kind.
"There is a team here called Byrnes," Bonds said. "They are five-time state champions in South Carolina and always a powerhouse. That is what Notre Dame reminds me of, a powerhouse. This season wasn't in their favor. I know they have a nice campus. I've seen some pictures of the campus in magazines. It's a good school all around I believe.
I just know some of the players that went through there like Brady Quinn, and (Jimmy) Clausen is up there now."
So is Gray, who Bonds has gotten to know by playing with and taking a few unofficial visits with to games at South Carolina.
"I'd like to go up there to see what he saw in it because that's a long way from here," Bonds said. "To travel all the way up there for college and be up there for four years, it's like you got to pick out where you want to spend the next four years of your life, and I'd like to see why he picked to go up there."
Weis and his staff are hoping Bonds sees the same things Gray did.