Post Junior Day Interview: LB T.J. Ponds

NORMAN, Okla. — Sooners Illustrated caught up with Wagoner (OK) HS linebacker T.J. Ponds after his Junior Day experience at OU and has the exclusive interview right here.

Sooners Illustrated: Just kind of talk about how your Junior Day went at OU?

Ponds: Oh, it went great. They showed us around and stuff and this is my first time actually looking around campus and stuff. It's just a beautiful place. They went and fed us later on and everything was great as usual while I'm up there. And it was just a great experience all around.

Sooners Illustrated: Kind of walk me through like how the day went, you know, was their players speaking to you or how'd the day go?

Ponds: Well, at first they took us to the film room and Coach Stoops talked for a little bit. And then he showed us a little highlight film with the recruiting and stuff and all the history of all the championships and stuff. And then from there we went and split up into defense and offense groups and they went and showed us around campus and took us up through the Switzer Center and stuff. That's where we actually checked in at, and they showed us everything up there. And then we went and got to look out on the field. Then, from there we went and ate, and they gave us a ride on the shuttle, you know, and they showed us around campus. And then from there we went back to the film room and they sat us down with our defensive coaches and stuff. And we got to talk to Coach [Tim] Kish, and he showed us like where would we play at and stuff into their defense.

Sooners Illustrated: What were your thoughts on Coach Kish. I mean, he's new to this system obviously. This will be his first year. What were your thoughts? Did you get a chance to discuss things with him?

Ponds: Yeah, we talked for a little bit and stuff and he asked me what my grades and stuff were like. And he asked me what I weigh in at and then he just told me about how he was getting used to the climate change and stuff from Arizona to Oklahoma, you know. And then we just went on from there and then he actually talked to me one-on-one, the little thing like he kinda told me where I'd be at in their defense and stuff, really.

Sooners Illustrated: Did he discuss an offer or anything with you?

Ponds: No, not really. No, he didn't. Well, he did tell me he'd be in touch and stuff. So, I hopefully that's what they'll be doing is offering pretty soon. I hope so.

Sooners Illustrated: Outside of OU, what other schools are you looking at right now?

Ponds: Well, really Alabama. They've been talking to me--well, not talking to me but sending me stuff and everything here and there. And Iowa State, they've been talking back and forth to my coaches and everything. They sent me some stuff to come up to their spring ball.

Sooners Illustrated: Out of today, going through everything, what kind of impressed you the most about OU?

Ponds: Actually really, the most thing that impressed me was their education facilities and stuff like that. The ladies that were there on staff and helping the athletes and stuff with their education and making sure that they're on track and they're not missing class and stuff. That really impressed me a lot, and it showed me that they care about us getting through school as much as they do us being on the field.

Sooners Illustrated: Guys always talk about that because not everyone goes to the next level [NFL] after they play in college. But just how important is the academic side for you in terms of where you choose to go?

Ponds: Oh, it is. It's one of the top reasons why I just want to make it through college, you know, get my degree and everything.

Sooners Illustrated: Are you planning at camping at OU at all or going to some other camps this summer?

Ponds: Yeah, I'm definitely hitting up the three day camp at OU. And then a couple other camps here and there.

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