Northwestern’s terrific 2018 recruiting class took a hit on Thursday when Ethan Bonner flipped his commitment to Stanford. Bonner, an athletic, speedy corner, verbally pledged to Northwestern back in April.
The Woodlands, Texas native received an offer from the Cardinal back on June 12. He hasn’t made an announcement on Twitter, but 247 Sports is reporting a hard commitment to Stanford and his decommitment from Northwestern was confirmed by Houston-based VYPE Magazine.
The Woodlands' DB Ethan Bonner has Decommitted from Northwestern— VYPE Houston (@VYPEHouston) August 4, 2017
Bonner’s decision leaves the Wildcats with 15 players in its 2018 class. Highly touted Greg Newsome is the lone corner. Jeremiah McDonald is the other member of the secondary. This comes as a surprise as Bonner was in Evanston merely a week ago for Northwestern’s annual lakefront barbecue for its commits.
For Pat Fitzgerald, it’s back to the drawing board. The Wildcats have featured at least three defensive backs in every class since 2014, so while there’s plenty of depth, we know that adding another member to the secondary to a class that features only two would be ideal.
Cornerback Elisha Guidry is the obvious target. The Murrieta, California native already holds a Northwestern offer and it will be interesting to see if the Wildcats can get him to Evanston this summer. Other potential targets might not even be on Northwestern’s radar yet; starting corner Montre Hartage was the final commitment of the 2015 class and received his offer in February.
Losing Bonner is far from ideal, but at least it’s early August. That leaves the staff with plenty of time to find a replacement of equal or greater caliber. When Grant Perry decommitted from Northwestern two days before signing day in 2015, Fitz was able to flip Flynn Nagel’s Duke commitment just the next day. With over six months more time on their hands to find a replacement and a few spots left in the 2018 class, Northwestern will be just fine.