DRAFT PROFILE: Elijah Ponder, DT, Cincinnati
Measurables: 6’3” 275 LBs
Elijah Ponder is a 22 year old defensive end for the Cincinnati Bearcats. Originally from Austell, Georgia, Ponder played his formative years at South Cobb High School. Originally a two star recruit out of Georgia, Ponder had several offers to play division II football but had his sights set on the big stage and landed in Ohio. On February 3rd, 2016 Ponder signed his letter of intent to Cincinnati after offers from Appalachian State, Chattanooga, The Naval Academy and The Air Force Academy. As a member of the Bearcats, Ponder spent his freshman and sophomore season as a rotational defensive tackle but really shined his junior season. In the midst of losing two All-American Athletic Conference defensive tackles Cortez Broughton and Marquise Copeland, Ponder responded with a First Team All-AAC selection for himself. From a statistical perspective, Ponder provided the Bearcats with a menace in the middle of their defensive line, compiling 33 total tackles, 7.5 for a loss, 2.5 sacks and a team-high nine quarterback hits. Ponder ended his career on a high note with the Bearcats, as they led the nation in defensive scoring for three consecutive seasons in route to an AAC Championship in 2020. As a player, Elijah is as versatile along the defensive line as they come. For a big player, Ponder has the athleticism to play every position on the defensive line while having the power necessary to fight power with power in the trenches. That athleticism and power truly shows when he’s able to jump across multiple gaps along the line at the snap. You can see how surprising it is to offensive linemen early in games. Good hands, positional versatility and quick feet make Elijah Ponder one of the most polarizing defensive line prospects that you aren’t talking about.
- Positional versatility
- Fluid movements
- Hand Technique
- Pass Rush moves
- Jack of all trades, master of none
- Undersized DT/Oversized DE
Tim Jernigan. An undersized defensive tackle prospect that thrives off of his ability to rush the passer and quick block shedding which allows for a lot of tackles for loss. Would love to see him hone in on a singular position so we can see how sky high his ceiling really is.
Round 7. The product of being from a small school is what hurts Elijah as a projectionist. Even though the success is undeniable in his 4 years with the team and the production has been there for Elijah, the Power-5 conferences will likely see their project linemen go first, regardless of ability or not.
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