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Preview of Newest Cincinnati Bearcats Commit Elijah Ponder

Ponder became the Bearcats 15th commit of the 2016 class when he gave his verbal on Nov. 11. As the only defensive linemen committed so far, his play may prove to be vital to the Bearcats moving forward.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The great teams are built from the inside out, starting with the defensive and offensive lines. With the physicality within the trenches, depth is especially key the the success of any team. Elijah Ponder, the newest Cincinnati commit, will look to continue to beef up and improve the defensive line into the future for the Bearcats.

Deeper Look Into Game Of Ponder:

Strengths: Ponder is blessed with quickness for being 6'3 and 260 pounds, as he consistently beats tackles and even guards off the ball. He is also explosive, constantly finishing tackles by running through the ball carrier and making them pay. He has also shown enough power to play inside as a three-technique or outside as an outside linebacker.

Weaknesses: He plays with an extremely high pad level, often standing straight up out of his stance which will be a problem at the next level, especially when combined with his lack of hands. Lack of hands simply means his inability to use his hands in a powerful way to shed blocks. Also, his high school competition seems to be a bit lower in standards as you can see he often comes into the backfield untouched, which begs the question; is it his skill or the lack thereof of his competition.

Projection: Ponder projects to be a backup at Cincinnati when he arrives on campus next summer. With his body type, it does not appear he will be able to add much more weight, as he is already filled out. In high school, most things seem to come easy as no one touches him on most of his big plays. One thing he might be able to excel at is being a third down pass rush specialist.

Outlook: Unless something unforeseen happens, it appears as if Ponder's arrival on campus is a lock. Cincinnati is his only offer from a big-time program. Ohio University and a host of FCS programs have also offered, but it appears that he will end up a Bearcat.