When thinking of Wagoner, Okla., most focus immediately on senior defensive back Kevin Peterson, who has offers from Iowa State, Arizona and Tulsa and should see interest in him pick up after a tremendous season.
But if you’re looking for the future of Wagoner football, it starts with junior linebacker T.J. Ponds. At 6-foot and 210 pounds, Ponds is cementing himself as one of the top in-state defensive prospects for 2013.
Ponds, Peterson and the rest of the Wagoner team won the Oklahoma 4A state championship with a 23-0 win against Clinton, Okla., last week. It is Wagoner’s first championship.
SoonerNation: Less than a week since winning the gold ball, is the town still celebrating?
T.J. Ponds: Oh yeah, the whole town is going crazy. We’ve already watched the game together as a team. It’s something I’ll never forget.
SN: It just happened that your championship game was a nationally televised game by Fox Sports. Did you feel any added pressure?
Ponds: No, not really. It felt like just another game to me. Our attitude was we needed to win this one after being so close so many other times.
SN: You ended your season with a bang, winning the championship and earning a shutout in the process. Has recruiting interest started to pick up?
Ponds: It’s coming along. I’ve received a lot of mail from Alabama and OU and Missouri. No official offers yet, but I’m not worried about that.
SN: You mention the Sooners, were you able to go to any of their games this season?
Ponds: I was able to go to the one against Missouri. I was going to go against Iowa State, too, but I couldn’t make it work out. I was at a summer camp at OU, but the atmosphere of the Missouri game was a lot different.
SN: What stood out about that weekend?
Ponds: I’ve never been around a crowd like that. Actually being out there and seeing the players on the field, it definitely made it more real to me.
SN: Did you grow up an OU fan?
Ponds: I’ve liked them for a long time. My mom loves OU. My grandparents actually live in Norman so it would be a great situation if everything was able to work out.
SN: Any plans to make unofficial visits here in the near future?
Ponds: No, I’m going to relax and wait to see if schools start calling for a little bit before I start thinking about recruiting again. It’s been a long season, but it ended exactly the way we wanted so can’t be mad about that.