Dec. 2, 2010
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Florida State senior quarterback Christian Ponder has been named the recipient of the 2010 James Tatum Award, ACC Commissioner John Swofford announced Thursday.
The Tatum Award is given annually in memory of the late Jim Tatum to the top senior student-athlete (in athletic eligibility) among the league’s football players. Tatum, a two-time ACC Coach of the Year, coached in the 1950s at both Maryland and North Carolina and believed strongly in the concept of the student-athlete.
Ponder, a native of Colleyville, Texas, and a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, has guided Florida State this year to a 9-3 overall record, a No. 20 national ranking, the Atlantic Division championship and Florida State’s first berth in the ACC title game since 2004. FSU’s 6-2 ACC record is also the Seminoles’ best conference record since 2004.
“It’s definitely an honor to be named the Tatum Award winner,” said Ponder. “The ACC is really known for its outstanding academic institutions, as well as its football programs, so it’s very competitive athletically and academically. To be recognized with this distinguished award, from a group of outstanding senior student-athletes, I’m truly honored.”
Ponder graduated from Florida State after just two and a half years in May of 2008 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance, compiling a 3.73 undergraduate GPA. He then completed his MBA degree at FSU last May, compiling a cumulative 3.703 graduate GPA. He is currently enrolled in Florida State’s graduate program in Sports Management.
“Christian exemplifies the complete person, not only as an athlete, but as a student,” said Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher. “No one exemplifies that more than Christian Ponder. Everything he touches he tries to be the best, on and off the field. He’s definitely been a winner. He’s one of the pillars of our program and will be greatly missed. He’s also one of the best athletes and competitors I’ve ever been fortunate enough to coach.”
A two-time All-ACC Academic Football (2008-09) team member, Ponder has been named this year as one of the recipients of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame’s Scholar-Athlete Awards. Ponder has also been named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team and selected as a Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award winner. A two-time finalist for the Wuerffel Trophy (2009, 2010), he has been named to the CoSIDA Football All-Region Three Academic team and is a candidate for CoSIDA Academic All-America honors.
The pre-season ACC Player of the Year, Ponder currently ranks third in the ACC in pass efficiency (137.46) and is third in passing percentage, completing 62.1 percent of his passes with 20 touchdown passes and only 8 pass interceptions. He is ranked 22nd on the ACC career total offense list with 7,696 yards and is 24th in career passing yardage with 6,866 yards. He ranks among the top six at Florida State in almost every statistical category for a quarterback.
In addition to his academic and athletic achievements, Ponder has given of his time extensively in community service as a volunteer to such organizations as the Leon County Animal Shelter, the American Cancer Society, the American Red Cross, the Children’s Home Society, the Children’s Miracle Network, the Dick Howser Center for Childhood Services, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Haiti Earthquake Relief, Tallahassee Boy’s Town, Tallahassee Miracle League, Tobacco Free Florida and the United Way of the Big Bend
Ponder becomes the third player from Florida State to be honored with the Tatum Award, joining former standout Seminole student-athletes David Castillo (2005) and Daryl Bush (1996).