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Bonner heading to Duquesne

Mar. 28—Duquesne University will get Anthony Bonner's talents on the gridiron next fall.

Bonner, a senior at Neshannock High, signed his letter of intent to play for the Dukes, who compete at the Football Championship Subdivision level, as a safety on March 20. Location played a big part in Bonner's decision to attend Duquesne.

"I talked to a couple of different schools," Bonner said. "With Duquesne being an hour away from my little sister, I can come back and watch her play her high school career. Being close to home is a good fit all around."

Said former Neshannock head coach, Fred Mozzocio, on what the Dukes will be getting out of Bonner, "I think what they're getting with Anthony Bonner is a young man who is a great student, first and foremost. He's excellent in the classroom. He's going to show up every day and give you his all whether it's in the weight room, conditioning or what have you. On the football field, going into this, I'm sure he's going to be a little bit of an underdog but I think he'll relish in that role and prove to himself and the coaches he's ready to win."

In his senior season, Bonner helped guide Neshannock to a Midwestern Conference championship and a No. 2 seed for the WPIAL Class 2A playoffs. The Lancers finished with an overall record of 9-2 after losing to Beaver Falls, 14-13, in the quarterfinals.

"Leading up to this year, Anthony had some injuries and some illnesses. His sophomore year, he missed the playoffs I think it was (due to) a broken clavicle. His junior year, he missed the playoffs. He wanted to come out and excel for us," Mozzocio said. "He put his time in the weight room and got bigger and stronger. It transitioned on the football field for him. He had an outstanding season and was one of the leaders on our defense. He excelled out there every Friday night and was noticed for his play."

Bonner was one of four defensive backs named to the Pennsylvania Football Writers' all-state Class 2A team. He was also given the Midwestern Conference Defensive Player of the Year.

"Breaking my collarbone in my junior year during our deep playoff run brought me down on myself," Bonner said, adding, "Coach (Joey) Flora really talked me into keeping my head and staying in the weight room. Without him, I don't know I'd make those honors. Making those is an incredible accomplishment but without my teammates and staff, it would've never happened."

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Bonner commented that he visited the campus two times in the past couple of months.

"I went to a basketball game," he said. "The campus is the nicest in the city and anything you want to do you can do."

Bonner also met the football coaches.

"The coaches were really cool," Bonner said. "You could tell they're well structured and more of an old-school type of staff which is what I had at Neshannock. I think I'll get along with them really well."

Bonner said the opportunity to play at the Division I level is something he wants to capitalize on. He said Duquesne is getting a "hard-working kid in the classroom and on the field," adding he's going to give "everything I have, honestly. Hopefully, I get an opportunity. When the opportunity comes, I have to strike."

Bonner said he is undecided on a major but is leaning toward a biology or chemistry major.

"Anthony's one of those guys ... he's not a big rah-rah guy but he has a great demeanor about him on the field," Mozzocio said. "He's the type of guy who's a good teammate to everybody. He's always upbeat. He just leads by example."