Bond to Western Carolina

Watauga’s Jaiden Bond announced he will walk on to play football at Western Carolina.

BOONE — Watauga wingback Jaiden Bond announced on his Twitter page March 23 that he will play college football at Western Carolina.

Bond was a three-year starter at wingback and defensive back for the Pioneers. He will be a preferred walk-on for the Catamounts.

Bond thanked the Lord, his teachers and his coaches at Watauga High School in his tweet before making his announcement to attend Western Carolina.

“I would like to thank the coaching staff at Western Carolina for offering me a PWO opportunity to play D1 football,” Bond tweeted. “I’m excited about being a Catamount and playing football at WCU!”

Bond was second on the Pioneers in rushing with 1,584 yards during the 2019 season. He also scored 16 touchdowns on the ground in 2019.

Bond added 18 catches for 539 yards and six touchdowns. On top of that, Bond, who was the backup quarterback to Anderson Castle, completed 3-of-6 passes for 138 yards and a touchdown. He finished with 2,261 total yards of offense.

Defensively, Bond finished with 73 tackles, four for a loss. He also intercepted three passes and recovered seven fumbles.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for Jaiden,” Watauga coach Ryan Habich said. “He had some Division II scholarship offers, but he had a goal and a dream to play Division I football. Jaiden looked at other schools, such as ETSU, but he felt comfortable at Western.”

Watauga finished the season with a 13-2 overall record. The Pioneers reached the fourth round of the state 3-AA western brackets of the playoffs before falling to eventual 3-AA champions Weddington.

Western Carolina, coached by former Appalachian State assistant Mark Speir, stumbled to a 3-9 overall record, 2-6 in the Southern Conference. The Catamounts put together back-to-back wins over VMI and East Tennessee State, but lost their next two, and final games, to Samford and to No. 5 Alabama.

Habich felt Western Carolina had an advantage because Bond was able to see the campus and meet with the staff before the COLVID-19 pandemic struck.

“He didn’t get a chance to visit as many schools he wanted to, but he did get a chance to visit Western Carolina before this all started,” Habich said. “Coach Speir took him around and I think (Bond) felt pretty comfortable with coach Speir and Western Carolina.”

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