Written by: Alex Compton (@alexncompton)
There are now 64 days remaining until the Indiana Hoosiers kick-off the 2016 season in Miami against the Florida International Golden Panthers. Join us each day for each part of our 100-day countdown to the opener! This time around, it is Shaun Bonner’s
-Weight: 240 pounds
-Hometown: Moultrie, Georgia
-Position: Tight End
Indiana’s 2016 recruiting class was just about set leading up until signing day, until a few more players caught Coach Wilson’s eye. One of those players? Shaun Bonner, a tight end with a plus frame and hands out of Georgia. Although he wasn’t a highly sought after prospect, that didn’t stop Coach Wilson and his staff from deciding to try and land the Georgia Southern commit. Getting Bonner on campus was a huge turning point in his recruitment, as it took just two days after his visit for him to flip to the Hoosiers. As a two-star prospect, he will have his work cut out for him, but that doesn’t mean Shaun Bonner can’t be a valuable member of the Hoosier offense in the coming seasons.
If there has been a weakness in the high octane Hoosier offense since Kevin Wilson has taken over, it has easily been the tight ends. With Ted Bolser as the only notable exception, Indiana has been lacking consistent playmakers at the position. This season figures to be the same in a sense, as there is not a single dynamic threat at the tight end spot. Combined, however, the tight end group is as deep as it has been in recent seasons, and their talents together should allow for the group to be much more productive this season. Danny Friend and Jordan Fuchs are back, and Austin Dorris is coming off of a redshirt season in which he seemed to settle into the position. Add in junior college transfer Ian Thomas, and the depth chart appears to be working against Bonner in year one.
I would expect Fuchs and Friend to get a majority of the snaps, as they have shown flashes throughout their careers. While they have both shown they can play at this level, they have both unfortunately been unable to stay on the field for extended stretches. Injuries have plagued both of these players, which makes it even more important for IU to have a pool of talent behind them like they do this season.
With a deeper pool of talent this year, it would make sense for Bonner to take a redshirt to get stronger and learn the nuances of the offense. With great size to go along with his soft hands, he should make a great target for the future line of Indiana quarterbacks. Don’t be surprised when you hear his name frequently in a few seasons from now.
Share any memories or expectations you have of Shaun Bonner as a player in the comments section (or on the message boards) and be sure to come back to Hoosier Huddle each day during our countdown!