“I put my head down and go to work.” D.K Bonhomme’s journey to South Alabama

In the NCAA, every Saturday this season there are thousands of players that suit up to play college football. The vast majority are American, and each have somewhat similar stories and have taken similar paths to the NCAA, but then there are also a good chunk of internationals, and recently, some Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Last weekend it was Akheem Mesidor, defensive lineman from Ottawa at the University of Miami that stole the spotlight. Making 8 total tackles and recording 3.5 sacks he was nationally recognized as the defensive player of the week, named by Walter Camp, and the ACC defensive lineman of the week. He isn’t the only Ottawa native balling on the division one stage though. Wesley Bailey and Rene Konga are each making their presence felt on the Rutgers defensive line while Jonathan Sutherland does more of the same with the Penn State Nittany Lions secondary, coming off of a 7 tackle game and Fabrice Mukendi, Shakespeare Louis and some other smaller school guys are getting increased roles in their respective places. One other player that isn’t talked enough from Ottawa, yet is still putting on for the city in good ways would be University of South Alabama Jaguars linebacker D.K Bonhomme.

It was his high school days in Ottawa, getting serious within the game of football in the capital which really got him to where he is today as a division one football player, but his story goes beyond just Ottawa.

Bonhomme was born in Haiti, and raised in Montreal before making the move with his family to Ottawa at the age of 14 where he first attended College Catholique Samuel Genest. While at Samuel Genest he played NCAFA club football, and had the opportunity to meet Coach Jean Guillaume in the city, and it was the day he met Guillaume that his football career took a turn in the right direction. He still remembers the day he met him, and why he wanted to be a part of what was being built within the city, and at St Matthew High School.

The first meeting between Bonhomme and Guillaume was one of Bonhomme’s track and field meets when he was at Samuel Genest. “It was at the Terry Fox track in Ottawa in 2016, we went there, I ran my races, and then I had seen a coach with a bunch of kids walking around and he had all of this nice gear on, he had on a black nike track suit and he had this cap on, I was like ‘thats kind of nice.’ So then me and a couple of my friends came over to see him, and he was telling me about what he was wanting to do with football in Ottawa and at St Matt’s and thats how it all started, thats how we met and it all took off from there.”

Anyone that knows coach Jean, knows about his swagger, about his drip, so for Bonhomme to talk about how it was the drip that got his attention in Guillaume, is a perfect story, especially now considering what happened over the following years.

After meeting coach Jean Guillaume, Bonhomme got a text from him about a week after that track meeting. “He texted me about a training he had. He said something like, ‘I’m doing a training this Sunday at the field, bring the guys.’ So I ended up going, and at that time I hadn’t really trained before, so that was my first time going through a training, and it took me a week to get back to normal.” he told JZ Media’s Jordan Zlomislic in an interview, “it was really those trainings that we did though that prepared me, and helped me get to where I am today, at the time its also what helped me decide on going to St Matt’s.”

In High School, Bonhomme and his family lived very close to Samuel Genest. It just made sense that he went to school there, “it was right next door.” he explained, “when I told my parents they were confused why I wanted to take two buses to get to St Matt’s just to go to school, but I explained them a few things, and I even brought Coach Jean over to talk to them too and then not only was I sold on what Coach was building at St Matt’s but my family liked the ideas too, and liked what he wanted to do beyond just football.”

“For those that know coach Jean, know he’s more than just a coach, and know he wants to do things for his players outside of just football.”

Coach Jean Guillaume went on to coach Bonhomme for one season at St. Matthew’s prior to Bonhomme’s departure for America, something that was talked about in that time leading up to transferring to St Matthew High School. His first time playing across the border was with Canada Prep where he played an all American schedule, and it led into an opportunity at Clearwater Academy International, a school now known for great international talent, but a school which he was the first international at during the time he was there.

The time he spent there really helped him blow up.

He’s always naturally been a good football player, but when his talent hit a bigger stage in Florida, coaches at the next level were all over him, including Tom Allen and his staff at Indiana who coached Bonhomme from 2019 through 2021. Over that time he was living out his dream of playing power 5, Big 10 football, making an impact mainly in 2020 with 15 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, one sack and one safety prior to making a move to the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama alongside Kane Wommack who went from defensive co-ordinator at Indiana to head coach for the South Alabama Jaguars.

At South Alabama Bonhomme is comfortable, and on to doing big things, making 6 tackles in his first three games with the Jaguars and starting up something special for his career there.

For more on Bonhomme, stay tuned on JZ Media for a more in depth story on him, and his background.

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