After going undrafted in the 2015 NFL Draft and fielding many calls from different teams, Chris has accepted an invitation from the Carolina Panthers for a tryout. More to come as I sit down with Chris later this week prior to his trip East.
Back in 2012 I had a chance to sit down with a young Grossmont college student from Clairemont to talk about a business he and his buddies from high school started. What was supposed to be a high school project morphed into a clothing apparel line.
As we sat in Bay Park Coffee that day the young man was heaping praise on his buddies who all had a hand running the business while college students. How a graphic designer interpreted their ideas and drawings and how a local print shop took a chance on some college kids and started production. That was it CLMT Roots the local clothing apparel company was born.
Last month I sat down with the 21 year old Chris Bonner once again, my how things have changed in two and a half years. Our sit down at Clairemont High School was marred by a few distractions, but nothing new for Bonner, who is now a busy man as he prepares for the potential of being drafted in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Bonner’s football career took off after transferring from Grossmont College to Colorado State University – Pueblo, where he was the starting quarterback. His first year they lost one game all season, in the second round of the playoffs. His second year, his senior season, again, only one loss a mid season game by one point. The #8 ranked Thunderwolves then rattled off 9 consecutive wins led by Bonner culminated by winning the NCAA Division II beating #1 ranked Minnesota State- Mankato on a nationally televised game in Kansas City, Kansas. A couple weeks later he was the starting QB for the American Roster at the Medal of Honor Bowl in Charleston, South Carolina. An All Star game for college football players from the smaller schools across the country.
He described the All Star week in Charleston as “amazing”. The committee and the city welcomed the student athletes with open arms. Additionally and more importantly, every team in the NFL had representatives in attendance scouting all the players. Whether it was watching their practices or interviewing them one on one. For all the players the rapid fire questions or the casual conversations the NFL scouts and coaches posed was definitely a taste of the NFL mindset. As Bonner explained it was great insight as to how each team thinks and operates.
Bonner is well aware he can only control so much, what he can control is his preparation and focus. At the end of the day it does not matter how you got there, but ultimately now he wants to reach his goal and play at the next level.
Since January Bonner has been training for the NFL draft in Denver at Six Zero Strenght & Fitness which is run by former Denver Bronco Matt McChesney and is also being coached by QB Coach Warren MCarty.
At 6’7” 240 lbs he’s been working on foot drills to get quicker, strength/weight training, classroom work, video work and more. Basically, all football all the time.
Bonner has been to a few “Pro-Days” where players at all positions showcase their skills in front of coaches and scouts on a smaller scale. One such day was with the Chargers at their Murphy Canyon practice facility where the they held a local pro day for both players from San Diego and local college players. Bonner mentioned a nice conversation he and the other players had with Philip Rivers, who happened to be at the facility. The message from Rivers be positive, work hard, don’t hold back and do the best you can do.
The NFL Draft is 7 rounds 256 picks. Could Bonner be one of 256? Absolutely. In his words, “if I get drafted great, but not being drafted and potentially fielding undrafted free agent offers, again that would be great as well.”
In speaking with Chris Bonner, I once again, truly got a sense of his appreciation of where he is at and what led him to where he is today. There were opportunities to attend other colleges, but no guarantee of actually playing. He chose a program at Colorado State – Pueblo because he saw a chance to compete for the job and two years later he won a National Championship. The football and academic decisions he and his family made were all about giving it a shot for an opportunity to play at the “next level”. Well, here we are NFL Draft is a couple days away and the time is now.
Regardless of how this all plays out this is a great story of a local Clairemont young man, a Clairemont High School Alum, a National Champion football player and hopefully a soon to be NFL Player.
As for CLMT Roots it is going strong the apparel can be purchased at Clairemont Surf Shop 6393 Balboa Ave.
As they say, this story is developing….
The NFL Draft starts Thursday, April 30th through Saturday, May 2nd and will air on ESPN.