If you aren't one of the 'Big Three' schools in the Sunshine State, it's pretty much an unwritten rule that you typically won't be able to compete for the very best recruits in Florida. Apparently somebody forgot to tell that to NC State coach Chuck Amato, who is recruiting in the state as hard as ever for this year's class.
The Pack is still in contention for several top prospects in Florida, and one of the best is Miami (Fla.) Monsignor Pace defensive back Lovon Ponder.
For some time a lot of recruiting analysts have assumed Ponder is a lock to the hometown Hurricanes. Would they be accurate in assuming that?
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"No, I'm not a lock at all," laughed Ponder. "That's all speculation, and you have to know people are going to do that. Miami is right up there at the top for sure, but I'm not closing doors on other schools. I'm listening to what everybody has to say. If Miami is the school I choose, then so be it. But I wouldn't say it's a lock."
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back runs the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds and has two official visits left on his slate. Who is Miami's main competition right now?
"I think NC State and Oklahoma are probably the two biggest contenders other than Miami at this point," he said. "I visited NC State back in December and they really impressed me. I wasn't expecting too much, but I think they're one of the top emerging football teams in the country. I like the school too.
"I've got a visit to Oklahoma (Jan. 23) coming up, and of course I like them just because they're Oklahoma. You don't really have to say too much beyond that. Miami is pretty much the same way, plus it's right here at home."
Ponder isn't in a rush to make a decision?
"Nah, I'm not going to rush anything," he said. "I really want to take these last two visits. I'm having a nice little break here for a couple of weeks and I'm going to use that time to reflect. I'll decide sometime between after the Miami visit and Signing Day."