One of the nation’s elite defensive backs has narrowed his list down to five schools that should get official visits in the weeks to come.
Four-star Miami (Fla.) Monsignor Pace safety Lovon Ponder says Miami, N.C. State, Oklahoma, Georgia and Florida State are in contention for his signature on signing day.
“Right now, I would say Miami is the leader,” Ponder said. “But it’s still a hard decision. They’re all great schools, great teams. I want to go check them out and see who provides the best all-around environment for me as a player and a person. I’m looking for somewhere that feels like a family.”
Ponder (6-1, 190, 4.45) has a visit scheduled to N.C. State on Dec. 5, but noted that it might need to be changed if Pace continues to advance in the state playoffs. He also has a Dec. 19 date set with Miami.
Asked to break down his leaders, Ponder offered the following:
“Miami is a great program that’s real close to home. You can’t ask for much more than that. I go over there and watch practice a lot. I like their players and coaches. I know a few of their players already.
“N.C. State has been on me for a long time. Coach Holiday is a great recruiter. I’ve really taken to him. He feels like an uncle or something, someone you can talk to about anything. I like what they’re doing with their program. They’re heading in the right direction.
“Oklahoma is the team right now. It’s the prestige factor. I love their defense.
“I’ve got family in Georgia, so that’s why I’ve been looking real hard at them. Plus, they have a great program. Coach Richt is doing some big things there.
“Florida State is also close to home, and I like their tradition. The atmosphere at their stadium is awesome. I love that Osceola chant. That gets me fired up.”
Ponder said he’ll likely set up his other visits when the season is wrapped up. Through 11 games, he’s helped lead Pace to an 8-3 record while recording 90 tackles, 20 pass break-ups and four interceptions. He is rated the No. 8 safety in the nation by Rivals.com.
Academically, he maintains a 3.5 GPA and has posted a qualifying 870 mark on the SAT.