One On One Kicking Trainee Matt Bonadies Commits to UAB

Written by: Zach Harig of
University of Alabama-Birmingham first year head coach Bill Clark has had a winning coaching resumé no matter where he has coached. In 1999, Clark was hired as the head coach at Prattville high school in Alabama and led them to a 106-11 overall record and back-to-back state championships in his eight year tenure. From there, Clark took over as the defensive coordinator at South Alabama until 2012, when he was hired as the head coach at Jacksonville State University. In just one season, Clark led Jacksonville State to an 11-4 record and their first playoff appearance. Now, the successful coach is taking over a struggling program at UAB, where he hopes to turn that program around as well. Clark is off to a hot start on the recruiting trail, reeling in two top kicking prospects in the Class of 2015. Punter Ivy Wall of Oak Forest Academy in Amite, Louisiana committed to UAB last month, now triple-threat specialist Matt Bonadies of Buford, Georgia has also committed to the Blazers.

“I met Matt and his mother about a year and a half ago,” One On One Kicking founder, Mike McCabe stated on Bonadies, “I was introduced to the Bonadies family by Marc Nolan from ‘The Kickers Zone’ which is a company we network with. They’re a great Christian family and he’s a great kid.” Marc Nolan, the CEO of ‘The Kickers Zone’ has been worked with Bonadies before referring him to Coach Mike McCabe and One on One Kicking.

“Matt came to us as a kid with a very strong leg,” McCabe said on Bonadies’ beginning with One on One, “He came in with a soccer swing but was always positive and had a great attitude. Matt is very coachable and picks up everything quickly; he’s an extremely bright athlete.”

Bonadies is an up-and-coming prospect out of Buford high school who has been working with One on One Kicking and former NFL punter Dawson Zimmerman for the past year. “When I came to One on One Kicking, I had the basics of kicking down,” Bonadies said, “I had been to some camps and had a good kicker at my high school that taught me what he knew, but I was still kind of raw. I was refined once I got to them because they brought it down to the small details, they showed me kicking was a lot of smaller detail rather than big things.”

Matt’s mom, Debbie also started to see a difference following her son’s training with One on One Kicking and founder Mike McCabe. “His confidence improved and so did his techniques. We saw a huge difference in the results and techniques. Once he got to go year round his punting had improved and we saw five second hang-time.”

“After One on One, I’m a kicker who really critiques myself,” Bonadies said on his development with One on One, “They showed me the fundamentals and details of kicking. Now I can watch my film and know what I’m doing wrong, I’m a self-teaching kicker.”

Matt’s mother was looking for an affordable way for him to stay in shape year round and she found what she was looking for in One on One Kicking. “It was the only company that offered the year round kicking and Matt wanted to keep in shape year round,” Matt’s mother stated, which is why she chose to send him to One on One. “We knew Mike McCabe helped a lot of kids because I talked to their moms and we all agreed that he was one of the best instructors out there. He (Coach Mike McCabe) was agreeable to having Matt, it was a combination to the reputation of Mike McCabe and talking to the moms, plus it was very affordable for what you get in return,” she stated.

The big leg of Bonadies continued to grow as his work with One on One Kicking continued. Once a raw prospect, Bonadies transformed into a top kicking prospect. Interest came pouring in from bigger programs such as Tennessee, Rutgers, Syracuse and Vanderbilt along with smaller schools Coastal Carolina, Mercer and Georgia State. “UAB started recruiting me in the spring time,” Bonadies said, “They were sending me hand written letters and invites to camps and campus.”

First year head coach Bill Clark has the Blazers’ program headed in the right direction and the recruits are beginning to notice. “I really liked the direction that they’re headed in,” Bonadies said on why he committed to UAB, “Coach Clark and Coach Thomas have big ideas for the program and it’s so impressive how they’re turning it around and the direction they’re headed in.”

“Committing to UAB is the most relieving feeling in the world because I know I’m in good hands for the next five years of my life. I have a great home,” Bonadies said on his commitment to the Blazers. “I’m a graduate of UAB and so is my husband,” stated Matt’s mom, Debbie, “It’s surreal, Matt has worked hard and he’s deserving of this. I’m so appreciative of the confidence that Coach Clark and Coach Thomas have in him. Matt is very motivated to turn the team around, there’s big shoes to fill and he’s up to it.”

UAB currently has two senior specialists on their roster, kicker Ty Long and punter Hunter Mullins, who are One on One Kicking trainees as well. Long was selected as a Lou Groza semi-finalist in 2013 after being on the preseason watch list since his sophomore season. Aside from the Lou Groza, Long holds the UAB school record with a 54-yard field goal against Ohio State in 2012. Also in 2012, punter Hunter Mullins received a lot of attention after averaging nearly 45 yards a punt, which ranked him 13th nationally. Mullins was also selected as preseason Special Teams Player of the Year in Conference USA this season for his final year at UAB. One on One Kicking has certainly made an impact with the UAB Blazers football specialists such as Long and Mullins and now Bonadies and Ivy Wall.

Following Mullins’ departure, Bonadies will have a tremendous chance to start as a true freshman, “That’s a big reason why I chose UAB,” Bonadies stated. “I have a chance to start right away, I love to have the playing time and that’s the opportunity I am going to get.”

Coach Clark is now rebuilding the special teams at UAB with the addition of punter Ivy Wall and kicker Matt Bonadies in the Class of 2015, both of which are One on One Kicking trainees, as Hunter Mullins and Ty Long were before them. For Bonadies, he says he’s excited to get started with fellow specialist commit, Ivy Wall, “I met Ivy at a specialist camp, he and I are great friends,” said Bonadies on his soon-to-be teammate at UAB, “I look forward to working with him in college.”

Matt’s mom, Debbie was drawn to UAB because of the coaching staff, “The coaches took a personal interest in Matt, particularly Coach Thomas,” she stated. “I love the direction that the team is going; it’s exciting to be a part of the rebuilding effort. As a mom, I feel that Matt is at the best place that he can be, plus we’re only three hours away so it’s just a drive away. Coach Thomas is a winning coach with strong character, good morals and he motivates his players. I feel so secure that Matt is in the right place.”

As for Matt, he also took a mutual interest in the coaching staff, particularly Coach Thomas. “Coach Thomas works specifically with the kickers, punters and snappers instead of a special teams guy,” Bonadies said on the first year head coach, “So we have a guy who knows what he’s talking about and that really made me decide.”

Though he has worked on punting for the past year, Bonadies is being recruited to UAB as a kicker, which is what his focus will turn to from now on.

Despite Bonadies focusing on kicking, Coach Mike McCabe says Bonadies may be a kicker now, but he’s an all-around dominant specialist, “Short and simple, Matt is a triple threat, he’s a huge asset to UAB. His kickoffs are averaging 4.0 or 4.1 at a high school level and are seven to nine deep. As a triple threat, Matt is extremely consistent and is a great high school kicker. His talents can go anywhere; he can win as a kicker, punter or kickoff specialist.”

For UAB, they got a very bright player with a great future in Matt Bonadies. The strong leg and tremendous work ethic will carry the Blazers special teams unit a long way for the next five years to come. “He’s a division one kicker who can be an All-American now,” said Coach Mike McCabe, “He’s an all-around triple threat and a great athlete to have.”

Blazer fans – Coach Bill Clark is beginning to turn this program around before coaching in his first game with UAB. On the recruiting trail, Clark and the Blazers got not only a great player, but also a great person in Matt Bonadies. Watch out for this kid down the road.