August 9, 2012

LIVIN' THE DREAM - Bondurant Secures Preferred Walk-On Roster Spot With Missouri Tigers

Brock Bondurant kneels to sign an autograph for a young fan during the 10th annual Football Fan Day held Sunday, August 5th, at Faurot Field.

Heading into the July 21st Lion's all-star football game, the thought in the back of Brock Bondurant's head had to be, would this be his last competitive football game of his career?

The SCR-I graduate played in the Do-or-Die bowl in Quincy earlier this summer before traveling to Warrensburg for the Lion's game.

He was using the all-star games to try and highlight his skills at defensive back for prospective college recruiters, a position he played in high school, but that was overshadowed by his performance on the other side of the ball at quarterback.

"I've been playing defense as preparation for my plan attempt to walk on at Mizzou, as I felt that was the best chance for me to gain a spot on the roster and maybe eventually get on the field," Bondurant said.

It was that type of mindset that opened up an opportunity at Warrensburg, at the Lion's game, where Brock stepped up to fill in at tight end after an injury left that position open.

"My offensive numbers were nowhere near the numbers put up by other quarterbacks from around the area and state," Bondurant humbly confessed.

He noted that his high school coaches and other area sports experts thought Brock's best shot at playing the next level would come on defense.

Bondurant got a scare in the Lion's game, as he suffered a back injury in the game. After recovering from shoulder surgery that ended his basketball season, Bondurant worried that this setback might interfere with his plans to try to walk on at MU.

Those fears subsided and were replaced by jubilation when Brock received a phone call last Monday evening from University of Missouri director of football recruiting Nick Otterbacher. Bondurant learned that not only had he earned a preferred walk-on invitation, but that it was at quarterback.

It was two dreams come true for Bondurant.

"I have always wanted to go to the University of Missouri and be a Tiger," he said. "Playing quarterback has always been an ultimate dream and that's where I'd like to play."

MU Coach Gary Pinkel made a young Brock Bondurant's day when he took time for a photo at a Tigers event.

The dream was just that for much of the year. Until late this summer, Brock wasn't sure he would be attending his favorite college.

In June he made a trip to the University of Memphis to check out the school after receiving an offer to play football for the Tigers in Tennessee.

Brock said Memphis was a serious consideration as former MU safety coach, Barry Odom, received a position as the school's defensive coordinator.

"I had been in contact with him while he was at Mizzou and really grew fond of him as a person and coach," Bondurant said. "He offered me a preferred walk-on spot as a safety at Memphis. Odom was the main reason for my thoughts of attending Memphis as he is a man of great character and I can think of no position coach that I'd rather play for than Barry."

But ultimately Brock's love for the University of Missouri won out. Despite an uncertain football future, Bondurant passed on the Memphis opportunity with plans instead of trying to walk on at Mizzou.

Bondurant admitted that he wasn't highly sought after on the recruiting circuit.

"The safety spot at Memphis was the only real offer I received and it was not a scholarship offer," he said.

Brock added that he never really gave any thought to trying to play at a smaller school.

"Mizzou has always been the place for me," he stated. "Northwest Missouri State was the only small school I would have considered, but with no scholarship offered there, it was Mizzou or bust."

With the first major challenge out of the way, and his place on the team secured, Bondurant now will battle to get the opportunity to demonstrate his skills as a quarterback.

He expects to see time leading the scout team in practice, taking snaps to help prepare the defense, and hopefully moving up the depth chart, that currently contains four quarterbacks, including starter James Franklin, a junior.

His performance will determine his future position, as the recruiters indicated that Bondurant likely will be moved to defensive back or tight end in the future.

"Coach Otterbacher told me that I was being put at quarterback because the team had a solid recruit class coming in on defense," Brock said. I believe I will be moved to defense my second year or possibly even tight end."

Regardless of the future position, Bondurant will be all smiles when he arrives on campus this week to report to fall camp with a roster spot secured.

"It's always been my dream to play there and if I went elsewhere, I would have never known if I could've accomplished that dream or not," Brock said. "I didn't want to wonder my whole life if I could've made the team or not. I had to try."

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