Hampton WR Jadakis Bonds Named Shrine Bowl HBCU Offensive Player of the Week

With 144 yards and two scores against Maine, Hampton WR Jadakis Bonds has been named the Shrine Bowl HBCU Offensive Player of the Week.

Despite the Hampton Pirates coming up short against Maine on Saturday, wide receiver Jadakis Bonds has been named the Shrine Bowl HBCU Offensive Player of the Week.

The big-play threat, the only Hampton player on the Shrine Bowl 1000 Watchlist, took home the weekly honor after dominating the Black Bears’ defense with a season-best performance, demonstrating why he’s one of the most talked-about pass catchers in the FCS.

Week 6 Shrine Bowl HBCU Offensive Player of the Week: Hampton WR Jadakis Bonds

Although an Austin Ambush interception in the final minute sealed a 31-24 defeat for Hampton, Bonds was named the HBCU Offensive Player of the Week for his part in keeping the Pirates in the game against Maine.

The senior wide receiver tallied a season-high 144 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Bonds accounted for over half of the total Pirates passing yards, with his two scores twice putting Hampton in the lead.

The highly rated FCS receiver gave the Pirates an advantage late in the first half with a 67-yard touchdown reception that showcased his big-play ability. Early in the third quarter, a five-yard touchdown snag on third and goal was further evidence of the red-zone threat the North Carolina native poses for the Hampton offense.

With his rare blend of size and athleticism, the danger he poses in that area is one of the reasons he’s attracting attention at a national level.

“Bonds is my favorite red-zone threat in HBCU football and a prototypical X receiver,” Draft HBCU scout and defensive line coach Gerald J. Huggins Jr. told Pro Football Network. As a result of their partnership with the East-West Shrine Bowl, Draft HBCU is helping elevate and promote HBCU prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft and beyond with initiatives, including the HBCU Player of the Week Awards.

It’s easy to assume that a pass catcher of Bonds’ size will be viewed purely as a red-zone threat by the NFL. However, as Huggins explains, there’s more to the Hampton wide receiver than simply a jump-ball specialist down in the final yards of the field. Yes, he can be that guy for a team at the next level. But he’s also a three-level threat with an alluring skill set.

“At 6’4″, and 200 lbs, he’s a big WR with a large catch radius,” Huggins explains. “Bonds has strong hands, high-points fade balls, solid body control with back-shoulder throws, and the speed to beat coverages down the field. He uses his size and quickness to beat press coverages and create separation. He’s also a willing blocker and showcased the ability to get YAC.”

While being named the Shrine Bowl HBCU Offensive Player of the Week puts Bonds in the national spotlight this season, he’s been extremely productive and impactful for Hampton since arriving at the program in 2018. As a sophomore, he tallied 943 receiving yards and a school-record 15 touchdowns, starting the 2019 season with a Big South record — a touchdown in five consecutive games.

MORE: Shrine Bowl HBCU Defensive Player of the Week

The disruption of the global pandemic caused a roadblock to Bonds’ ascension into the spotlight. Hampton was one of the first programs to opt out of the year, and while he could have entered the transfer portal, loyalty to the Pirates and head coach Robert Prunty kept him at the FCS program. When football returned, he was as sharp as ever, with a career-high 155 yards against Norfolk State, contributing to a 773-yard, six-touchdown campaign.

The performance against Maine that earned him Shrine Bowl HBCU Offensive Player of the Week honors was the second 100+ yard game of the 2022 season. Having racked up 122 yards and two scores against Tuskegee, the Hampton WR sits at 456 receiving yards and six touchdowns and is well on his way to another productive campaign.

“Bonds is one of the premier WR talents in the FCS,” Huggins summarizes. “He has been productive in his four years at Hampton University. Since 2018, Bonds has had 29 total touchdowns with 146 receptions and over 2,100 yards. Bonds is currently in the top 10 in receiving TDs and top 15 in receiving yards per game.”

National attention isn’t something new for Bonds. He hasn’t appeared from thin air, he’s not a player unranked by the major recruiting sites. The Hampton wide receiver was a three-star recruit who got Power Five looks from teams in the ACC and an offer from West Virginia.

He committed to East Carolina, but being academically ineligible, the two-sport star from Riverside High School lined up for a different Pirates program instead. It’s something he’s learned and grown as a result of, adding character to an impressive skill set.

“I’m a big believer in learning from your mistakes,” Bonds told HBCU Gameday in a 2021 interview. “So I feel like my mistakes back then is what made me the man I am today,” he said. “I was able to learn from them and overcome. I had a whole bunch of adversity to overcome, I was able to maintain my focus and strive for greatness.”

His namesake — yes, Bonds was named after the rapper Jadakiss — once said, “we’re all in the same game, just different levels.” The Hampton WR aims to prove that his game translates to any level ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft. With his size, speed, and catch-point ability, it’s easy to see how it translates to the NFL level. Draft HBCU’s Huggins certainly believes Bonds is on an upward trajectory as we get closer to April.

“His stock will continue to rise as he puts up solid numbers in the CAA, one of the more challenging conferences in the FCS.”

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