Tennessee football fans should be glad Chris Bonds’ sister is a fan of the Lady Vols softball team.
The 6-foot-4, 283-pound defensive tackle from Richland Northeast High School in Columbia, S.C., visited Tennessee on Monday and Tuesday while his sister participated in a Lady Vols softball camp.
“She watches Lady Vols softball all the time,” Bonds said. “That’s all we ever hear about is softball, softball. I said, ‘Well shoot, if you’re going (to visit) I might as well go.’ ”
Bonds, who said he actually lived in Knoxville until age 3 or 4, spent most of his time on this campus visit talking with defensive tackles coach Dan Brooks.
Bonds said he and Brooks used Monday to discuss life at UT as a student, not a football player.
Bonds told Brooks he plans to major in mechanical engineering.
That’s when Brooks talked about former UT defensive tackle Darwin Walker, who has had success in the NFL and the engineering field.
“He’s making more money with his engineering degree than on the football field,” Bonds said. “Football is not always Plan A. You have to have a plan for the rest of your life.”
UT certainly has a plan for Bonds on the football field.
Defensive tackle is UT’s highest priority for the 2009 class, which Brooks stressed during their conversation.
“The whole thing was about need,” Bonds said. “(Brooks) said, ‘We need you and we’d like to have you come here if you want to come here. If not, it’s your choice.’ He expressed their need for me and I felt real honored about that.”
Bonds said he was impressed by the way Brooks relates to his players.
Bonds said he spoke with former UT defensive lineman Turk McBride while he visited the Vols’ football complex.
Bonds said McBride talked about the close relationship Brooks keeps with his former players.
“They have that special bond,” Bonds said. “Coach Brooks has that father-like figure on lock.”
Bonds said he’s considering seven schools: UT, South Carolina, Alabama, Southern Cal, Michigan, Notre Dame and Miami.
Bonds said he hopes to trim his list soon, something he’s already attempted.
“Every time I try I always find things about a school I trimmed that I like,” he said. “I’m stuck at seven now.
“My mom keeps telling me to trim it. I know I’m going to have to in the end but it’s hard.”
Bonds said he doesn’t plan to visit anymore schools this summer.
He’s spent his offseason recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, which he injured during his junior season.
Bonds said he plans to spend the rest of his summer strengthening his knee, which he said if fully healed.
“I’ve gotten most of my strength and speed back,” he said. “I want to stay here to continue my weightlifting.”