Bonner Catches Summer Stride

Bonner Catches Summer Stride

Corey Cusick/Times-Georgian


Jordan Bonner is going to be a big catch for some lucky program at the next level, but the Division I recruit wants to finish some unsettled business in the prep ranks before suiting up on Saturdays.

The Carrollton High School senior receiver returns as a key component to a Trojan offense that lit up the scoreboard last season en route to a run to the region title and Class AAAAA state quarterfinals.

Bonner hauled in 34 receptions for 493 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2016, and second-year Carrollton head coach Sean Calhoun believes the potential is there to make an even bigger splash this fall.

"Knock on wood, if Jordan stays healthy, he should be able to match or significantly increase what he did last year," Calhoun said. "For us to have a good year, he has to produce. He's been putting in the work and he knows he's got one year left. He knows it's time to go."

Calhoun and his star receiver took a trip to the University of West Virginia this past weekend, as the Mountaineers are one of more than 20 schools that have offered the 6-foot-2, 185-pound target up to this point.

"It went good. I thought everything was real nice. They treated me like family the moment I stepped on campus," Bonner said. "I talked to the wide receivers coach [Tyron Carrier]. Me and him have a good relationship. We text daily. He basically said if I come in and compete and work like I'm supposed to that I'd be playing as a freshman."

Calhoun, who played his college ball at Valdosta State, has some ties to West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen and assistant coach Doug Belk. Holgorsen earned his master's degree from VSU and served as an assistant coach for the Blazers from 1993-95, while Belk is a Valdosta native and also spent time as an assistant on the VSU staff, including the 2012 national championship team.

"Coach Holgorsen and coach Belk, who recruits this area, they treat us like gold. They have a beautiful place up there. I think Jordan is still kind of weighing out his options, but if he decides to go there that would be a great place football-wise and academically," Calhoun said.

Bonner, who also has offers from Memphis, Minnesota, Indiana, Syracuse, Central Florida, Wake Forest and Vanderbilt, among others, possesses all the tools you'd want in a receiver and Calhoun said his physicality is something that has also developed through his work in the weight room and under the tutelage of offensive coordinator John Cooper.

"He's got some things that colleges want. His size, his strength, his hands, his running ability and football intelligence. He loves football. He's going to be a gem and he's going to be a success story, no matter where he goes," Calhoun said.

"He's got some God-given ability, but coach Cooper and him, those two developing that relationship and pushing him and getting him to a level of excellence that we want him to get to and that Jordan wants to get to on the field, in the weight room, what our school does for him academically."

The other main source of synergy comes from Bonner's relationship with senior signal-caller Mark Wright.

With both players entering their third year starting at the varsity level, they've become a deadly duo for opposing defenses.

"I swear every day it gets better and better. They have things that they can kind of just see and they know that you don't necessarily have to coach or call," Calhoun said. "They just kind of do it on their own and it's been awesome to see that."

Bonner stressed how the work they put in on the practice field pays off on Friday nights.

"The chemistry is great. We just keep getting better and just keep competing. It's working out," Bonner said.

With this marking the final week of action before the dead week, things will really pick up come July 10 as the start of official practice will be a mere two weeks away. Bonner said it's been a tremendous summer so far and he is confident the team is putting everything together to have a special season.

"We've just been jumping back in style like we were last year. We had a minor setback, but this year we're ready. We're ready to compete," Bonner said.

And it won't be long before the 2017 season is here when the Trojans open the campaign in a rematch of the West Georgia Kickoff Classic against Newnan on Aug. 17 at University Stadium.

"I'm just ready. Words can't explain it," Bonner said.