April 28, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Many thought it might take while but the Minnesota Vikings knew exactly who they wanted with the 12th pick of the 2011 NFL draft selecting Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Ponder said. “I wasn’t sure what was going to happen but to be picked No. 12 by the Minnesota Vikings is just a dream come true.”
“I’m extremely happy for Christian and his family,” Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher said. “He’s very well deserving of what he’s achieved and it couldn’t have happen to a better guy. Not only is he great representation for Florida State but for all of college athletics.
In a surprise to most but not to the Seminole nation, Ponder became the highest quarterback in FSU history taken in the NFL draft as well as the first FSU player taken in the first 12 picks since linebacker Ernie Sims in 2006 by the Detroit Lions.
Ponder also is the highest offensive player to go for the Noles since offensive lineman Alex Barron in 2005. Before Ponder, Gary Huff was the highest drafted FSU QB as the 33rd overall pick in the second round of the 1973 draft.
“That’s what I heard. Gary Huff in 1973,” Ponder said in response of being the highest drafted QB in FSU history. “For the talent that has come out of Florida State, that’s incredible and awesome. It makes me proud to be part of that FSU history which has produced so much great talent.”
Ponder finished his Florida State career ranking among the top five at FSU for career passing yards (4th, 6,872), career completions (3rd, 596), career total offense (3rd, 7,705), career TD passes (tied 5th, 49) and career completion percentage (2nd, 61.8). His 22 career victories as a starter is tied for third in school history. Despite a season-long battle with an arm injury in 2010, Ponder tossed a single-season, career-high 20 touchdown passes with only eight interceptions in 12 starts. His 49 career TD passes tied for 19th in ACC history. In 2010, he completed 184 of 299 attempts for 2,044 yards and rushed for 180 yards and equaled his single-season, career-high with four TD runs.
Jimbo Fisher on the type of player Minnesota is getting:
“He’s a guy that’s very complete. He has all parts of the game as far as he’s mentally ready, understands the game. He has talent. He understands how to compete and he also knows how to prepare. He understands the preparation and the time it takes to study film.
What people didn’t realize is that they were draining three cc’s of fluid from his arm after each game. When his arm is healthy and it is right now, he’s going to throw the ball 75 yards down the field. He’s going to make all the throws. He has tremendous hands – not only arm strength but hand talent. The ability to pass the football and throw it at different angles. He doesn’t have to be the classic motion. He can drop down sidearm if he has to get it around a guy. When I first started coaching him, I didn’t realize how athletic he was. That’s one of the things that allows him to be so accurate. He can get his balance and body control back in place and use his hands so well when he’s in awkward positions.”
Fisher on what Vikings fan should look forward to:
“As the face of your organization, he’s a guy who is never going to pass blame. He always puts the blame on himself even when it’s not his fault. He understands that roles. He represents your organization well. He’s the ultimate competitor. He’s one of the guys that I’ve truly coached that if he has to stay out there and practice and do things on his own to find ways to figure out what’s going on. He’s going to put the time in in the film room. He makes a great face for your organizations and he’s always going to be the ultimate competitor. You don’t realize the injuries he’s played with. He’s played with broken ribs in the past. The shoulder, the elbow, and he’s never complained. What I’ve said to people today when they ask about his injury, what you don’t know about him is that he can play injured and still produce and win games and as most know, an athlete is never always healthy.”
Christian Ponder Quotes
On leaving FSU after a successful career:
“It’s hard to leave Florida State with the direction that there going. They’re so talented. Not only for them to have talent but to have Coach Fisher, who’s one of the best. I owe so much to him. I’m excited for the direction that they’re going.”
On the process leading up to the draft:
“It’s a great process. For me personally, I knew I needed to do everything I could to get myself back up on the draft board. Obviously in my senior season,, people started having their doubts especially with the health so I took advantage of everything after the bowl – getting out to Phoenix to train for everything. It’s an insane process but obviously they have to do everything they can to determine who they want to draft so I just took advantage of the stuff that I could control and obviously it paid off.”
On the type of player the Vikings are getting:
“No. 1 a hard worker. I know people will have their doubts whether I deserved to go No. 12 but I’m going to make sure I work my butt off, better myself in whatever role I have. God’s blessed me with a lot of great gifts and I’m making sure I take full advantage of them and I’m going to make sure I do everything I can to lead Minnesota and prepare myself to have a successful career there.”
More On Ponder:
Three-year starter and one of the most successful quarterbacks in school history on and off the field…fifth-year senior entered campaign as the lone active FBS player in the country to have earned an MBA degree (spring 2010) before playing his final season…collected a myriad of awards along the way, including: NFF Scholar-Athlete; James Tatum Award (ACC’s top football student-athlete), Allstate AFCA Goodworks Award and first team CoSIDA Academic All-District honors…won FCA Bobby Bowden Award…first team Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award…was also a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and the Wuerffel Trophy…became the first FSU quarterback since Chris Weinke in 1999 to defeat both Miami and Florida in the same season, delivering the `Noles their unofficial state championship by a combined 52-point margin; the largest ever recorded…is the first Seminole quarterback since Gary Huff in 1971 and 1972 to score two career wins at Miami… had six multi-touchdown pass games, including a season-high four against Samford and three against both North Carolina and Florida…Ponder was especially efficient on third down and in the red zone. Of his 45 third down pass completions, 41 resulted in first downs or touchdowns…FSU led the ACC in third down conversions…in the red zone, Ponder was 30 of 50 for 240 yards and 16 touchdowns with just one interception…he led the Seminoles to an 9-3 record as the starting quarterback this season…ranked 24th in ACC history for passing yards and total offense.
6-3 / 227 lbs. / Quarterback
Colleyville, TX (Colleyville Heritage)
Vertical Jump: 34.0 inches
40 yard dash: 4.65
Broad Jump: 116 distance
Round 1 | Pick 12
|NFL.com Analysis -The Vikings surprisingly nab Ponder with their first-round pick. He has all of the leadership skills, intelligence and intangibles to be an effective starting quarterback, but the Vikings will need to tweak their offense to suit his skills as a quick-rhythm passer. He might not be ready to assume the mantle on Week 1, but he could be better than anyone anticipates as a pro quarterback.|