The bond between Elon football’s running back Jaylan Thomas and wide receiver Jordan Bonner goes far beyond being teammates on the field. 

“I’ve known Jaylan my whole life,” Bonner said. “Even before we were brought up, our parents knew each other, so it was an automatic relationship as soon as we were brought into this Earth.” 

Seniors Bonner and Thomas were born and raised in Carrollton, Georgia — a small city, about 45 miles west of Atlanta near the Alabama state line. When Thomas was born, his mother chose Bonner’s parents to be his godparents; this created an instant family bond between the two.

“That's how we became godbrothers. And that's how we will forever be connected,” Thomas said. 

Bonner committed to play football at Purdue University and played there during the 2018-19 academic year. Thomas said it was tough for both of them to not be together for the first time in their lives.

“I would be trying to watch Purdue play while I’m trying to get ready for my game at the same time, so it was a little hectic,” Thomas said. 

Even though they spent two years apart, they never lost touch. Bonner decided to transfer from Purdue before the 2020 season and said Thomas being at Elon was a huge part in him deciding to transfer there.

“Jaylan was the first person I talked to when I decided I wanted to transfer,” Bonner said. 

According to both Thomas and Bonner, they work better together and being on the same campus has helped them navigate this stage of their lives, push each other and support each other. 

“It's always good to know that you have somebody you trust with your whole life in your corner and nearby,” Thomas said. “Being six and a half hours away from home it's kind of tough reaching back to family, but knowing that my brother is here with me and knowing that he’s one call away, one drive away, or literally in the next room over has helped me.”

Their moms currently share a very close relationship as they grew up in the same town and went to Carrollton High School together — the same high school Jaylan and Jordan later attended. 

“My mom and Jordan’s mom grew up together,” Thomas said. “That relationship that they have kind of rolled in, and they spread it onto me and Jordan.” 

Though both of their parents put each of them in many different sports growing up, when Thomas and Bonner joined the same flag football team at the age of six they both knew it was something they loved to do. 

“Where we’re from, football is more popular, and you get more exposure,” Bonner said. “We decided to play football because we knew that was our way out, and we knew that was gonna help us get to where we are today.” 

Thomas said this was the point in time in which they both realized they wanted to play football for the rest of their lives. 

Throughout their years on the field, they have both made memorable moments together. Before each game they played together growing up, Thomas and Bonner would make bets on who would score the first touchdown. 

“I remember this one game I betted when everyone was around me,” Bonner said, “I told them that I was going to score the first time I touched the ball and I did.” 

Bonner described the relationship with Thomas as pure, and said their differing personalities complement each other. 

“We are like night and day,” Thomas said. “He is more of an introvert and I’m more of an extrovert so that tells you enough for itself right there.”

Aside from football, Thomas and Bonner said they also love spending time together where they can be themselves and have fun. 

“We play video games, we cook together and just chill,” Thomas said. “If you see him walking around somewhere, I’m probably somewhere right around the corner,” Thomas said. 

Their relationship is more than just a friend, teammate, or godbrother. Even though they aren’t technically related, Jaylan and Jordan are brothers. 

“My relationship with Jordan is… I don't think there's words to describe it,” Thomas said. “I think it's just something you can see for yourself. He's my real brother, we're blood brothers.”