September 18th. 2009
TKS Alum Jon Bonano, had a nice article written about him in the Arizona Daily Star the other day. It talks about how balanced Bonano is with his school and football time. Keep up the good work Jon! Jon has the top GPA on the team!
Bonano kicking away
Not just football on brain
Top GPA proves kicker in the know from head to toe
By Ryan Finley
Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 09.17.2009
Following every football practice, John Bonano heads straight to the University of Arizona library for a few hours of quiet study.
He has a grade-point average — and reputation — to maintain.
The Arizona Wildcats’ backup place-kicker carries a 3.903 GPA, the highest of any UA football player. Bonano, 19, is majoring in pre-physiology; a sophomore, he wants to finish his undergraduate degree on time before applying to medical school.
On the field, Bonano is climbing the Wildcats’ depth chart. He will travel to this weekend’s game at Iowa as the UA’s No. 2 kicker.
The key, Bonano says, is balance. He is taking 14 units this semester; his toughest class, organic chemistry, requires as much attention as his budding football career.
“I know a lot of guys who go to tutors and stuff, but for me it’s more about balancing schoolwork with football,” he said. “You have to balance things, know how to look ahead, and know how to stay on top of things.”
It’s about time we stay on top of Bonano. Here’s everything you need to know about the Wildcats’ smartest football player.
Bonano grew up in Salinas, Calif., as an accomplished athlete and scholar. He played football and basketball and ran track at Palma High School. Off the field, Bonano carried a 4.7 GPA, and scored a 2,140 (out of 2,400) on his SAT.
“I was valedictorian of my class,” Bonano said. “I had to give the speech and everything.”
Bonano’s speech touched on his class’ accomplishments.
“The essential theme was that our class was the quiet leaders of tomorrow,” he said. “We had a quiet class, but when it came to athletics and school, we were always successful. I focused on that aspect, on the positive aspects of our class and the different awards we won.”
And the verdict?
“It was a pretty good speech,” he said.
Bonano received a full scholarship to the UA as part of the university’s National Hispanic Recognition Program. Bonano is half Puerto Rican — his ancestors moved from Sicily to Puerto Rico generations ago before relocating to Northern California.
The UA’s National Hispanic Scholarship awards $20,000 annually to out-of-state students who qualify. Once they’re admitted, students must take 12 units or more per semester and maintain a 3.0 GPA.
Bonano chose the UA over Columbia University, UCLA and Cal, in part because the other schools offered only partial financial aid.
Bonano worked out for Arizona’s coaches shortly after enrolling at the UA last fall. At the time, the UA had two kickers — Jason Bondzio and Alex Zendejas — and didn’t need an extra one.
“After the season, they called me back and told me to keep kicking,” he said.
Bonano was added to the Wildcats’ roster before the start of spring drills. Because of his full academic ride, Bonano doesn’t count against the UA’s scholarship limit.
Bonano’s backup role means he’ll travel to most, if not all, of the UA’s road games as insurance. Though he has been battling a groin strain lately, Bonano could eventually push Zendejas for the starting job. Special teams coach Jeff Hammerschmidt likes Bonano’s leg, especially on kickoffs.
“Right now, he’s the No. 2 guy. As soon as he’s healthy, I wouldn’t be shocked if he helped out and did some things — maybe some kickoffs or field goals,” Hammerschmidt said.
Bonano insists there’s more to his life than just football and studying. He’s a member of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity and is well-liked among his teammates. Bonano is a die-hard sports fan, with the NFL’s Chicago Bears among his favorite teams.
Though he tries to enjoy himself, Bonano knows that success — both on the field and in the classroom — requires sacrifice.
“Just last year, I was hoping to get on the team,” he said. “Now that I’m on it, I want to keep working hard.”
Who has the highest GPA on the team?
• John Bonano, sophomore place-kicker — 35 percent
• Chris Gronkowski, senior H-back — 31 percent
• Rob Gronkowski, junior tight end — 15 percent
• R.J. Young, redshirt freshman linebacker — 13 percent
• Nicolas Grigsby, junior running back — 7 percent
Total number of votes: 552