Daniel Jones is quietly creeping up NFL Draft boards, as various sites, analysts and scouts see him going in the 1st round tonight in Nashville. CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson is one of many that see the former Duke quarterback going in the top-15, calling him “technically sound to the point that he’s regularly compared to the Mannings.”
That means the ABC and NFL Network cameras will be on him frequently tonight. One person, in particular, won’t be with him due to her own commitments on the playing field. That would be his girlfriend Ella Bonafede, a member of Duke’s women’s lacrosse team that’s playing in the ACC Championship semifinals in Chesnut Hill (Mass.) on Friday against rival North Carolina.
Here’s what you need to know about the Blue Devil senior.
1. She’s a Senior Attacker on the No. 18 Team in the Country
According to NCAA.com, Duke is the No. 18 team in the country this season in women’s lacrosse. After a 14-13 win over Notre Dame on Wednesday in the conference quarterfinals, the Blue Devils are now 10-7.
This season, Bonafede has only recorded one goal, one assist and two ground balls in a 20-0 rout over Presbyterian. Her best season came in 2017 as her Duke bio describes:
Played in nine contests at attack … Finished her sophomore campaign with two tallies and three assists … Registered a career-best two assists against Furman (2/10) … Also had two ground balls and one draw control … ACC Academic Honor Roll.
The 5-foot-3 attacker has made Academic All-ACC honor roll each year she’s played.
2. She Hails From a Suburb on Long Beach
Her bio also states that her hometown is Bay Shore (N.Y.), which is just 10 miles from downtown Long Island. She was actually born in Cleveland on June 30, 1997 before moving to New York.
She attended St. Anthony’s, a co-ed Catholic school in the area. Per a report on her commitment to Duke, she played as a midfielder for the No. 3 team in the Nike/US Lacrosse national girls’ Top 25 as a sophomore.
She also competed on the Long Island Top Guns, a summer travel team. She states that she played at the All-American Showcase, the National Draw, Club National Championship and the U-15 National Championships. Newsday ranked her as one of the top-100 players in the area in 2014.
A versatile midfielder headed to Duke, she excels on both ends and creates possessions with turnovers and groundballs. Recently suffered a torn PCL but is expected to recover for her senior season.
3. She Comes From a Family of Lacross Players
Her parents Mary and Joseph Bonafede have pumped out a whole family of lacross players.
Ella has two brothers that play collegiately. Sam Bonafede is a midfielder for Princeton, while Andrew is a goalie for Duke’s men’s team. Andrew is a 5-foot-10, 185-pound freshman with an extensively successful background in New York high school lacrosse. Per his Duke bio:
A four-year letterwinner for Jack Moran at Chaminade High School … Garnered Under Armour All-America recognition as a senior … A two-time CHSAA All-League pick … The starter between the pipes as a junior and senior … Made a combined 236 saves in his two seasons … Posted a career-best .606 save percentage and a 7.4 goals against average as a senior … Registered a .595 save percentage and an 8.6 goals against average his junior campaign … Voted to the Under Armour Underclassemen Long Island team in 2016 and 2017 … Made 13 saves and was named the game ‘s Most Valuable Player in leading Chaminade to the CHSAA intersectional lacrosse title in 2018 … Allowed just five goals in that championship game … Lettered two years in football at Chaminade … Also was a member of the National Honor Society.
Ella talked with Lax Lessons about how she played lacrosse since she was young with her brothers, including an unnamed one that isn’t playing in college.
“I’ve been playing lacrosse in my backyard with my three brothers for as long as I can remember,” she said. “I guess you could say they were my first teammates. They have definitely made me tough and determined. Having a goalie at home has been great.”
4. Her Nickname for Jones is Bing Bong
Back in November, she posted a picture a picture of her with Jones hugging on Instagram with the caption: “Way to go, Bing Bong!”
The post came a night after a 35-6 Duke loss to eventual national champion Clemson in Death Valley. Jones went 24-of-43 for 158 yards in the loss.
5. Jones and Bonafede Went on a Lime Scooter Tour of Charlotte
On Jan. 6, she posted another picture of the couple canoodling. The caption reads: “Thanks for the lime scooter tour of Charlotte. I’ll see you soon!”
Jones went to Charlotte Latin School, helping the Hawks to a 19-5 record and two state championship game appearances. He eventually chose Duke over offers from Princeton. He received no stars from 247 Sports.