2008 (Sophomore):At Florida State: Enters the 2008 season as the back-up to quarterback Drew Weatherford after working as the Seminoles' starter during the spring of 2008...gained an incredible amount of experience as the Seminoles' No. 1 quarterback with Weatherford sidelined with a knee injury... completed 12-of-19 passes for 140 yards, a touchdown and an interception for the first-team offense in the 2008 spring game as he continued to make a name for himself with the coaching staff...has a strong and accurate arm and excellent speed which has enabled him to begin developing into a top shelf quarterback...also has excellent size and athletic ability...is very smart and has an outstanding work ethic...earned a 3.89 grade point average in 2006 and earned the academic award for the freshman class from the coaching staff following his first year at Florida State...earned his undergraduate degree in real estate/finance after only two and a half years as a student at Florida State and is currently working on an MBA...he holds a 3.71 grade point average...is one of three players on the current Seminoles' roster whose father also played for head coach Bobby Bowden at Florida State...Christian (David) is joined by Caz Piurowksi (Paul) and Marcus Sims (Ernie, Jr.) as second generation Seminole football players...named Florida State's offensive Most Valuable Player at the conclusion of spring practice in 2008.
Freshman Season (2007): Played in one game - the first game of his career - as he was forced into action against Virginia Tech when starting quarterback Drew Weatherford was injured in the second quarter of the game on the road...Ponder, who had worked with the first team offense during the week in practice, stepped into the game in the face of a nationally ranked Hokie defense and a hostile Lane Stadium crowd...the first pass of his career was a beautifully thrown 23-yard out pattern to Greg Carr...he completed one of three passes for 23 yards with one rush for nine yards in his first quarter of action...became more comfortable as the game went on as he guide the Seminoles to 15 second half points...on his first scoring drive (a 50-yard field goal by Gary Cismesia) he was 1-for-1 for 24 yards on a six-play, 27-yard drive...his second scoring drive was a seven-play, 54-yard touchdown scoring drive...he was 3-for-4 for 32 yards passing and rushed one time for six yards on the drive...his first career touchdown pass was an eight-yard strike to De'Cody Fagg that gave Florida State a 21-20 lead with 3:41 left in the third quarter...he finished the game 8-for-18 for 105 yards and one touchdown.
2006: A redshirt season.
High School: Graduated from Coffeyville Heritage High School in January of 2006...a three-star player as ranked by Rivals.com...ranked 14th in the nation among pro style passers and the No. 50 overall prospect in the state of Texas by Rivals.com following his senior season...earned All-District first team honors by the Dallas Morning News as a senior...threw for 2,214 yards and 20 touchdowns while rushing for 911 yards and 12 touchdowns...threw for 318 yards and three touchdowns in a regular season game against the eventual state championship team Southlake Carroll...accounted for 438 yards of total offense (252 yards passing and 186 yards rushing) and totaled six touchdowns (five passing and one rushing) in a regular season game against Richland during his senior season...passed for 1,500 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior starter...selected Florida State over Oklahoma State, Arizona, NC State and Georgia Tech.
Personal: Born Feb. 25, 1988...his father, David, played defensive line at Florida State from 1980-83...currently pursuing his MBA.
Notes: Father, David, was an FSU defensive lineman (1980-83). Redshirted in 2006 (Jimbo Fisher took over as FSU's offensive coordinator following the season). Debuted in '07, seeing action in just one game (Virginia Tech) and completing 8-of-18 pass attempts (44.4 percent) for 105 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Took over in '08 when he started all 13 games and was the team's offensive MVP after passing 177-318-2,006-14-13 (55.7) with 119 rushes for 423 yards (3.6-yard average) and four touchdowns. Made nine starts in '09, tossing 227-330-2,717-14-7 (68.8) before suffering a Grade-3 separation of his right (throwing) shoulder against Clemson and undergoing season-ending surgery. Started all 12 games played in '10 and managed 184-299-2,044-20-8 (61.5) despite incurring a triceps contusion against Oklahoma and aggravating it against BYU; suffering a ruptured right bursa sac against Boston College (drained after Florida and underwent two procedures in December); and sustaining a concussion in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Two-time elected team captain. Earned his undergraduate degree in 2½ years. Named Senior Bowl MVP. Had a 22-13 career starting record. Earned MBA degree in Spring '10.
Positives: Extremely tough-minded and intelligent with terrific intangibles. Strong drive and determination. Will battle through injuries and play through pain. Sells play-action hard. Gets rid of the ball quickly with good timing. Moves well outside the pocket and can extend plays with his feet. Has a gamer mentality with the moxie and grit to command a huddle and win respect in the locker room. Shrugs off adversity, responds well in pressure situations and performed well at the Senior Bowl. Has a confident, composed on-field temperament and can rally a team from behind. Very natural leader.
Negatives: Throwing elbow must be evaluated carefully - arm strength was limited prior to the injury, and accuracy wanes down the field. Average decision maker - takes unnecessary risks trying to make plays and lacks the velocity to squeeze the ball into coverage. Makes some bad reads and head-scratching decisions. Puts a lot of arc on the ball and often underthrows deep receivers - cannot cut it loose through the wind. Struggles gauging his own arm and touch. Regressed following the promotion of Jimbo Fisher to head coach (and is best with a technical position coach). Could not finish the season the last two years because of durability issues.
Summary: An athletic, dink-and-dunk, West Coast passer who has been snake-bitten by injuries, Ponder has everything teams could want intangibly in a quarterback - intelligence, toughness, competitiveness and leadership qualities. However, his physical limitations will always leave teams wanting more and invite injury. Has the poise and confidence desired in a backup with potential to eventually become a good, not great, starter.