Drafted: Pick 26 of the 6th round by N.Y. Giants
Positives: Big-play threat with natural hands...Has an explosive initial burst, using his size well to escape the press coverage jam at the line of scrimmage...Knows how to sell and con the defender through his route progression and can also overpower his man with his leg drive...Sharp pattern runner with a fluid change of direction...Plants and drives well on his patterns and is always aware of where the coverage is stationed...Creates a lot of separation on his own, scheming to find space in the zone seams...Charges hard for the ball in traffic...Can catch outside the framework and maintains focus on the ball in flight... Has that deep separation burst and sideline body control to make acrobatic catches seem routine...Times his moves perfectly going up for the ball, using his size and quickness to gain much of his yardage after the catch...Can deliver explosive crack blocks and is very adept at stalking the defender when lending support for the ground game.
Negatives: Likes to cradle the ball at times and sometimes will try to turn and run before he has properly secured the pigskin...Needs to improve on his balance coming back for off-target passes...Even with his quickness, he does not always show suddenness off the snap...Always looking for that "home run" ball, which sometimes causes concentration lapses, resulting in drops of easily catch-able balls...Shows little willingness to block, preferring to just "pester" his man and making no effort to sustain his blocks.
Emerging talent who found a home with the Indians after stops at Tulsa and Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College earlier in his career...Two-year starter and team captain, who hauled in 157 passes for 2543 yards (16.2 avg) and 26 touchdowns, adding 27 yards and a score on seven punt returns (3.9 avg), 540 yards on 25 kickoff returns (21.6 avg), 13 yards on a reverse, 51 yards on an interception return, five solo tackles and a fumble recovery in 23 games...Holds four school and
two Ohio Valley Conference receiving records...First player in school history to gain over 1000 yards receiving in a season twice in a career.
All-American first-team selection by The NFL Draft Report, Associated Press and the American Football Coaches Association...All-Ohio Valley Conference first-team choice... Finished fifth in the voting for the Walter Payton Award, given to the top player in the NCAA Division 1-AA ranks...Served as team captain...Led the OVC as he set school and conference season-records with 87 receptions for 1453 yards (16.7 avg) and fifteen touch- downs, topping the old OVC marks of 1129 yards by Tyrone Butterfield of Tennessee State (1998) and 14 touchdowns by Terrence Tillman of Murray State (1999)...Only Harvey Tanner of Murray State (88 in 1967) caught more passes in a season in conference annals...Added 25 yards and a score on two punt returns, 257 yards on 12 kickoff returns (21.4 avg), 51 yards on an interception return and four solo tackles. Arkansas-Monticello...Snared 8 passes for 116 yards and a 31-yard score. Southern Illinois...Made 9 catches for 101 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including a game-winning 38-yard grab with 0:49 left in a 21-14 decision, adding 21 yards on a kickoff return. Eastern Michigan...Finished with 6 catches for 121 yards and a 54-yard score. Middle Tennessee...Caught 4 passes for 87 yards and returned 2 kickoffs for 31 yards. Tennessee State...Had 8 receptions for 121 yards with touchdowns of 44 & 15 yards while also delivering a solo tackle. Tennessee-Martin...Collected 104 yards with a 38-yard score on 6 grabs and returned a punt 9 yards. Eastern Illinois...Followed with 10 receptions for 153 yards and touchdowns of 39 & 13 yards...Also made a pair of solo tackles. Murray State...Caught 3 passes for 78 yards and a 42-yard score. Tennessee Tech...Showed his wide range of skills as he snared 3 passes for 52 yards, returned 3 punts for 70 yards, recorded a solo tackle with a pass deflection, blocked a punt that he returned 16 yards for a touchdown with 0:16 left in a 36-30 win and then preserved the victory when he intercepted a pass with one second remaining, returning the ball 51 yards. Eastern Kentucky...Hauled in 9 passes for 185 yards and touchdowns of 39, 40 & 13 yards. Samford...Closed out his career with 11 receptions for 195 yards and a 35-yard touchdown and had 2 kickoff returns for 64 yards.
All-American honorable mention by the Associated Press...All-OVC first-team choice... Served as team captain in his first year with the squad, leading the Indians with 70 catches for 1090 yards (15.6 avg) and eleven touchdowns...Gained 13 yards on a reverse and made a solo tackle with a fumble recovery...Added 283 yards on 13 kickoff returns (21.8 avg)... Ranked 14th nationally in receptions per game, 13th in receiving yards per game, 39th in all purpose running and 76th in scoring with 6.0 points per game...Only the second receiver in school history to gain over 1000 yards in a season. Eastern Michigan...Began his SEMU career with 6 receptions for 120 yards and 3 kickoff returns for 58 yards. Southern Illinois...Snatched 7 passes for 121 yards and a 47-yard score, adding 4 yards on 3 punt returns. Southwest Missouri...Grabbed 8 passes for 170 yards and touchdowns of 26, 58 & 21 yards, made a solo tackle and returned 3 kickoffs for 48 yards. Illinois State...Gained 175 yards on 7 catches, including 16 & 80-yard score. Tennessee State...Had 8 receptions for 108 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Tennessee-Martin...Held to a career-low one catch for 17 yards, but gained 117 yards on 3 kickoff returns. Murray State...Bounced back with 10 grabs for 110 yards and a 37-yard touchdown...Also had a 24-yard kickoff return. Tennessee Tech...Made 9 catches for 78 yards and a score. Eastern Kentucky...Gained 71 yards on 5 grabs. Quincy...Finished the year with 4 catches for 106 yards and a 25-yard touchdown, adding 13 yards on a reverse.
Attended Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College, but did not play football.
Did not play at Tulsa due to academic ineligibility.
Played in six games as a true freshman at Tulsa, finishing with six catches for 71 yards (8.9 avg)...Had 15-yard receptions in each of the Southwest Missouri and Southern Methodist contests.
No injuries reported.
Campus Agility Tests
4.52 in the 40-yard dash...34-inch vertical jump...9/31 Wonderlic score.
Attended Central (Tulsa, Okla.) High...Two-year letter-winner and starter as a receiver and defensive back...Helped guide his team to a 9-3 record as a senior...Tulsa World All-Metro second-team pick as a receiver, catching 45 passes for 695 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior...Had 463 receiving yards and six scores on 33 receptions as a junior...Named as the top defensive back in District 5A-3 as a senior...Had 78 career receptions for 1158 yards and 16 touchdowns...Also returned three kickoffs and two punts for scores... Coached by Carson Fields.
General Studies major...Son of Benella Ponder...Born Willie Columbus Ponder, Jr., on 2/14/80...Resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma.