Tallahassee, FL - Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder is one of 16 recipients of the National Football Foundation’s Scholar-Athlete Award – one of the most prestigious honors bestowed upon a college football player.
“It recognizes a great university and is a great compliment to a true student-athlete that has prioritized academics and athletics at the very highest level of achievement,” said Florida State director of athletics Randy Spetman. “It is a very special award for Christian and our university.”
Presented by the NFF & College Hall of Fame, each of the 16 honorees – selected from a nationwide pool of 121 candidates - will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship.
Ponder earned his place among what is considered one of the strongest classes in the history of the award. Earning his undergraduate degree in finance in 2 ½ years with a cumulative gpa of 3.73, then completed his MBA in May 2010. He is currently working on his second postgraduate degree in sports management.
“We are ecstatic about the quality of this year’s remarkable National Scholar-Athlete class,” said NFF president and CEO Steve Hatchell. “They stand as a testament to our mission of building leaders through football. From top to bottom, this group has established itself as one of the greatest in the 50-plus years of this program, boasting an impressive array of academic and athletic achievements.”
Ponder joins a list of former Seminoles who have also been selected for the NFF Scholar-Athlete Award, including Derrick Brooks and Chris Weinke. By virtue of his selection, he is a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, presented to the nation’s top scholar-athlete.
Ponder will serve as the national spokesperson for the class.
“That, again, is a great compliment to Christian and Florida State, that the nation recognizes what he’s done,” Spetman said. “I’m extremely proud.”
Ponder will be further honored at the 2010 NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 7 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. The event will include the inductions of the 2010 College Football Hall of Fame class and the presentation of several major awards.
He will be joined by fellow NFF Scholar-Athlete Award winners: Sam Acho (Texas), Anthony Castonzo (Boston College), Ben Chappell (Indiana), Alex Gross (Columbia), Owen Marecic (Stanford), Greg McElroy (Alabama), Mike Mohamed (Cal), Travis Nissley (Bucknell), Isaac Odim (Minnesota Duluth), Derek Sherrod (Mississippi State), Nate Solder (Colorado), Chris Stewart (Notre Dame), Scott Tolzein (Wisconsin), Ben Wartman (Saint Thomas, Minn.) and Stefen Wisniewski (Penn State).
A four-time member of the ACC Honor Roll and a two-time selection to the Academic All-ACC football team, Ponder has distinguished himself in the community as well. He is currently serving as the president of the Red Cross ‘Noles and remains active with the Leon County Animal Shelter, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, United Way of the Big Bend, American Cancer Society and Children’s Miracle Network, among other organizations. He regularly speaks to school children in the Tallahassee area, stressing the importance of academics.
On the field he has led the Seminoles to a 6-1 start (4-0 ACC) and a No. 16 Associated Press national ranking. Ponder also ranks among the top 10 in virtually every quarterback category in the Florida State record books.
A finalist for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award and winner of the Allstate AFCA Goodworks Team, he is also a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. Ponder remains a candidate for the Danny Wuerffel Award, the Maxwell and Manning awards.