Harrington Gardiner & Keion Cage | Staff Writers
Photo Credit: HamptonPirates.com
The Hampton University football team is halfway through its first official season in the Big South Conference. Sophomore receiver Jadakis Bonds already is breaking conference records. Bonds recently set a new Big South Conference record for most consec- utive games to start a season with a touchdown reception in an Oct. 5 home victory against the University of North Alabama.
“Jadakis is a winner,” Hampton coach Robert Prunty said. “He’s a tough guy that came out of high school out of North Carolina with phenomenal work habits.”
Since Bonds’ arrival at Hampton University last year, he has been a huge playmaker for the Pirates. In the first five games of the 2019 season, Bonds led the Big South in receiving touchdowns with nine, total receiving yards with 444, and receiving yards per game with an average of 88.8, according to the conference website.
Bonds had six catches for 68 yards and was held without a touchdown in a 35-27 loss at Gardner-Webb on Oct. 12.
“Personally, I just to want to help my team win the Big South,” Bonds said. “This is our first year in the Big South, and I want to come away with a conference championship.”
After the 2017 season, the Pirates chose to leave the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) for the Big South Conference, which allowed Hampton to expand its recruitment and talent pool.
Bonds was a three-star recruit, accord-
ing to 247Sports, at Riverside High School in Williamston, North Carolina.
After his senior season at Riverside, Bonds had multiple Division I offers, such as West Virginia University.
“When he came out of high school, [Jadakis] was committed to West Virginia, but things did not work out,” Prunty said. “Then he committed to East Carolina, where we formed a relationship. When it became available and [I] got the job [at Hampton University], leaving East Carolina and [a] good player like [Jadakis] still out there, it was significant to get down there to build our relationship, and he decided to come [to Hampton].”
This journey has led Bonds to be paired with talented former Florida State University quarterback Deondre Francois at HU. The Francois-to-Bonds connection has led the Pirates offense to first in scoring offense and second in total yards in the Big South Conference.
“[Francois and I] have gotten real close since he been here,” Bonds said. “Every time we get our connection better, it shows, come game time. He
has been helping me with every step of the way.”
Hampton (3-3, 0-1 Big South) plays at Campbell on Saturday.