I want to preface this with I’m a huge Christian Ponder fan. The senior quarterback for the Florida State Seminoles is an exemplary student-athlete and I believe he deserves all of the accolades in the world. He graduated with his Bachelor’s in two years and will have his MBA by the end of the college football season. He gets little to no recognition even though he has partaken in many community service outings within the state of Florida as well as his home state of Texas. The young man wasn’t highly recruited at all, but former FSU offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden saw something in the young signal-caller to give him a scholarship offer during one of the Seminoles’ high school camps. He went from an average quarterback as a sophomore to a star the following season and he is beloved by ‘Nole Nation. Depending on how well he does this season, many publications have Ponder as a late 1st to early 2nd round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. His Heisman Trophy campaign went viral (here) at midnight, July 7th and I think this is a horrible idea. Here’s why…
Florida State has been borderline mediocre for the past six seasons with only a handful of bright spots during this time. Obviously, one of these bright spots is Christian Ponder. With a bevy of weapons and an experienced offensive line, there’s no reason to believe Ponder can’t win the Heisman. Before his ‘09 season was ended early due to a shoulder injury, statistically he was one of the top QB’s in the nation. Well, now the Florida State Athletic Department has put a huge bulls-eye on Ponder’s back and teams will surely be gunning for him even more.
The ‘Noles were prime for a breakout season with a new, and fiery, head coach in Jimbo Fisher and a brand new defensive coordinator in Mark Stoops, who’ll be implementing a unique Cover-2 scheme that has never been utilized at FSU. This was supposed to be the year they got back on track and it was by flying under the radar that was going to help the Seminoles succeed. Teams already know how good Ponder is. No need to assist them and pump them up by showcasing this campaign. Now, there’s pressure on a kid when there wasn’t pressure before on a team that is still developing talent and trying to climb back in the right direction. Who actually thought this was a good idea?
I understand this is supposed to help recruiting because there’s a player in the spotlight that’ll be featured on ESPN daily and it’ll make the program more appealing, but this is a new age where highly touted recruits don’t care about that anymore. They’re in it for themselves. I’d say the majority of them want the spotlight, serve their three years, and go on to the NFL. If they happen to win a National Title during their college career then that’s a bonus.
Heisman campaigns are for Top-5 talent teams that actually have a shot at winning a National Championship, something the ‘Noles will not be playing in this season. The element of surprise has officially been exposed and FSU doesn’t have the defensive talent capable of taking some of the pressure off of Christian. He has what it takes between the ears and his physical attributes are clearly there, but a Heisman is truly won by a team and not just the individual. I honestly wish the young man luck and I hope that he proves me wrong, but this was a bad idea for FSU’s 2010 season.