Ponder Offers Up The Latest

Less than a week after Monsignor Pace High School in Miami won the class 3A state football championship, free safety Lovon Ponder is still celebrating. "I'm still on a high from it," Ponder said.

"I just can't get over it. We're the champs. We're the best. It's what we wanted to do from day one and here we are. We get our rings in February. It'll actually be the second one for me, but the first in football. I already have a basketball ring."

The talented defensive back actually started playing basketball again this week.

"Some people thought I should take a break but there was no way," he said. "I wanted to get right back into it because I had missed some time. I was back out there on Monday and I'm starting to get comfortable. I think we're gonna win in basketball too."

Ponder, 6-0 and 180 pounds, continues to be one of the most heavily recruited defensive backs in the state of Florida. He's had several in-home visits already this month.

"The coaches have been coming and going all the time," he said. "Miami came on Monday, Georgia on Tuesday. A bunch of other coaches have come through too."

The talented safety has taken one of his official visits and has three others scheduled.

"I went to N.C. State already," he said. "It was on the 5th. I was hanging out with (John) Dunlap and Tay (Darby) from Chaminade. We all talked about different things, about going to Miami and stuff. On the 10th of next month, I'll be at Georgia. I'm taking the 16th off. I got Oklahoma on the 23rd and then Miami on the 31st."

There have been rumors going around in recent weeks that Ponder might be favoring the Hurricanes less and less. He addressed that.

"No man," he said. "It's still UM. They're still in the lead. After Coach Stoops left, I started talking to Randy Shannon and Art Kehoe. Coach Shannon is real cool, he's real straight up with you. At safety, he's trying to get me and Kenny Ingram from Orlando. I think that would be a great tandem in addition to what they already got there now."

Ponder said he's followed the Hurricanes closely this season.

"I know they have to play Florida State again," he said. "They beat up on them once so they'll probably do it again. I think I can fit in. Meriweather and Greg Threat are probably going to be the safeties but I think I can go in there and compete with anyone they have."

The standout defensive back prospect said he'll likely wait till the end of January to make a final decision.

"I just wanna see what else is out there," he said. "My mom is going with me to Georgia. I'll make my decision after my visit to UM. But right now, they're still out in front."

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