FAMU baseball player juggles academics

From the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication to the long hours of practice on the diamond, Elliott Bonner is doing what many would say is the impossible. He is a journalism student and an athlete.

“It’s a lot of hard work balancing the two,” said Bonner.

Bonner, a senior outfielder from Memphis, Tenn., is known by his teammates and friends to have “die-hard” passion for the game of baseball. Bonner has been playing baseball since age five, he dreamed of becoming a Division I baseball player and to eventually play in the professionally.

Bonner said he got his drive and determination from one of his heroes—former Pittsburg Pirates right fielder Dave Clarke.

“He taught me how to hit, and taught me the mental aspects of the game. As a kid I always loved playing and watching the game,” said Bonner.

Even though he wants to play professional baseball, Bonner aims to be a public relations spokesman for an athletic association.

“Growing up, I wanted to be like Stuart Scott on ESPN,” said Bonner. “I became really interested in wanting to represent athletes and help fix situations that are sometimes negatively directed toward them,” said Bonner of his passion for public relations.

Being a baseball player and a journalism student is often difficult for Bonner.

“Time management is the hardest thing for me. I have early morning workouts, classes and afternoon practices. Doing all of this and trying to be a journalist is hard, but I make it work,” said Bonner.

Professor Laura J. Downey said Bonner is a great example for students wanting to pursue sports and major in journalism.

“I think he has good balance. He works very hard,” said Downey.

Second baseman Steve Cunningham said Bonner’s secret to success on and off the field is his positive attitude.

“He’s really positive, hardworking and doesn’t get mad when he makes a mistake,” said Cunningham.

Bonner’s love for the game was one of his reasons for coming to FAMU. Before wearing orange and green, Bonner had to work his way up the ranks by playing for Jackson State Community College.

“When Coach Lucas offered me a scholarship at FAMU I was so happy that I would be able to get the chance to play for a Division I school.” The Rattlers’ Baseball program has high hopes for a championship season and Bonner could be a key for their success.

In 2009, Bonner was a leader on the base paths for the Rattlers with an impressive .316 batting average and a .435 on base percentage.

Despite his standout 2009 season, Bonner believes 2010 will be a season like no other.

“I believe that we are going to win it all. If everyone is healthy we should come out on top,” said Bonner.

For his final season for the Rattlers, Bonner plans to bring the hard work and dedication he displays in the classroom to this year’s team. Bonner said he hopes to lead his team in their quest for championship glory.