All Texas Longhorns head coach Tom Herman wanted was for graduate transfer defensive back John Bonney to be happy.
So when Herman decided not to restrict Bonney’s transfer in August, the Houston Lamar product and 15-game starter for the Longhorns left his blood, sweat, and tears in Austin and promptly headed off to the Llano Estacado, reuniting with former defensive backs coach Clay Jennings and becoming a member of the Texas Ted Red Raiders.
“We’re really proud of John,” Herman said on Monday. “John is a graduate of the University of Texas, gave us four years of his blood, sweat, and tears. We’re very, very thankful to him for that. We love John Bonney.”
After spending about 21 months playing under Herman, Bonney even sounds like his old head coach.
“It’s a little strange, but I’m excited for the opportunity to see those guys again,” Bonney said. “Those are guys I’ve put a bunch of blood, sweat, and tears in with. From the competitive side, I know they aren’t going to take it lightly.”
Indeed, senior defensive tackle Chris Nelson said as much this week, as one would expect.
The bigger story is that a player who forced two turnovers against Texas Tech in his career and posted his career high in tackles against the Red Raiders will now play against the Longhorns.
With the Texas secondary struggling in recent weeks due to injuries and suspensions, it’s definitely missed Bonney, who is capable of playing any position in the secondary. But since Bonney lost the starting safety job to freshman Caden Sterns, he understandably decided to find a program that offered more playing time this season. And it just so happened to be another Big 12 program in the state.
Bonney adjusted quickly in Lubbock, starting his first game in scarlet and black and starting to force turnovers for Texas Tech instead of against Texas Tech — he currently has two forced fumbles this season, along with 26 tackles.
“As I was watching their defense this morning, good to see him flying around, making plays,” Herman said.
So, that’s all well and good, but will Bonney be able to provide his new head coach, Kliff Kingsbury with the inside scoop on how to attack that struggling Longhorns defense?
“Is it an advantage? I don’t think so,” Herman said. “I mean, John might know our players maybe a little bit better than some in terms of strengths and weaknesses maybe. But he’s playing in a completely different defense than what he was playing in here. He’s has nine games under his belt now of facing many different styles and types of offenses.”
Bonney agrees, so instead of worrying about his former player providing his next opponent with an advantage, Herman is just looking forward to seeing Bonney on the field at Jones AT&T Stadium and giving him a big hug. After all, Herman just wanted Bonney to be happy.
The hope for Herman and the rest of Bonney’s former teammates is that the hugs happen before or after a Longhorns victory.