Mobile, AL. (Dec. 23)---Florida State is sending two key members off their Atlantic division champion squad to next month’s Under Armour Senior Bowl. Quarterback Christian Ponder and offensive lineman Rodney Hudson have both officially accepted invitations to the 2011 game, it was announced today. The game will kickoff at 3pm (CT) on Saturday, January 29th in Mobile’s Ladd-Peebles Stadium and will be televised live on NFL Network.
“Christian and Rodney are both outstanding players with very bright futures in the National Football League,” said Senior Bowl President and CEO Steve Hale. “They both were a huge part of the Seminoles’ success this year and we are excited about bringing them in to perform in front of the top decision makers in the NFL.”
Ponder is the second quarterback to be named to the South roster, joining Alabama’s Greg McElroy. The Colleyville, Texas native claimed the 2010 James Tatum Award which is given annually to the top senior student-athlete in the ACC. He was also a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and helped lead the Seminoles to a 9 and 4 record this season, including a trip to the ACC title game—their first since 2005.
The pre-season ACC Player of the Year, Ponder currently ranks third in the ACC in passing efficiency (137.48) and is third in completion percentage (62.24). On the year, he has thrown for 2,038 yards and 20 touchdowns despite battling an arm injury for most of the season.
For his career, Ponder has accounted for 7,696 yards of offense (830 rush, 6866 pass) and 59 touchdowns. He is also a standout in the classroom, graduating from Florida State in two and a half years with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance with a 3.73 GPA. He completed his MBA degree last May and is currently in FSU’s graduate program in Sports Management.
“It’s definitely a big step for me to kind of showcase what I have,” Ponder said of the Senior Bowl. “I think it’s definitely a huge accomplishment for me to make it to the Senior Bowl and I’m definitely going to enjoy it.”
“For me, it’s been a lot of ups and downs this senior year just battling injuries. I’m sure there’s some doubt with some pro scouts as to how my arm is, so it definitely gives me a great opportunity, another chance to show that I’m fine and leave the Senior Bowl on a positive note.”
Hudson, a Mobile native who prepped at B.C. Rain, is a four-year starter for the Seminoles and the most decorated offensive linemen in ACC history. A unanimous first team All-American this season, Hudson also landed on the first team All-ACC squad for the third straight year and is just the seventh player in league history to earn All-ACC honors all four years of his career.
The offensive guard is a two-time recipient of the prestigious Jacobs Blocking Trophy (2009, 2010), becoming just the 11th player in ACC history to claim that award twice. Hudson was also a finalist for the Outland Trophy this season and was named ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week twice this season and eight times in his career, tying for the most in league history.
In his four years at Florida State Hudson started 47 games and this year graded out at 87 percent with 44 knockdown blocks. He was only penalized once in 832 offensive snaps this season. Hudson is the second Mobile native to be named to the 2011 South roster, joining Alabama tight end Preston Dial.
“It’s such an honor to be back and just to be invited to play in this game with so many great players,” Hudson said today at a news conference at Senior Bowl headquarters. “It’s going to be exciting to be back in front of the home crowd after being away for four years and it’s going to be a very good experience and I’m looking forward to it.”
Florida State (9-4) will close out their 2010 campaign on New Year’s Eve against South Carolina (9-4) in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Tickets for the 2011 Under Armour Senior Bowl are currently available for purchase at the Senior Bowl ticket office (151 Dauphin Street), all area Food For Less locations, select Regions Bank locations, online at www.seniorbowl.com or by calling (251) 432-4109.