Game Changers Spotlight: Stefan "Stef" Ponder

Name: Stefan “Stef” Ponder

Age: 13

School: LaVergne Middle School

Sport & Position: Football, running back

Why did you decide to start playing sports? I started playing at age five, and I’ve always had a passion for the game.

What is your favorite thing about playing sports? The competitiveness and athleticism.

What has been your biggest success on or off the field? My biggest success off-field was the decision to lose weight. I was a lineman from ages five to 11. I dropped a lot of weight, moved to tight end at age 11 and then to running back at age 12.

My biggest success on the field was scoring three touchdowns during the first game where I ever touched the ball.

How would your teammates describe you? Smart and a true leader.

What’s your favorite song to listen to before game time? “No Effort” by Tee Grizzley (

How would you describe your playing style? Fast and up paced.

Who is your favorite pro player and why? Jalen Ramsey because he is a Tennessee native and I know his background story. I train with his dad at Ramsey Performance Training, and he has a fast-paced playing style also. He is fun to watch, too!

What is the biggest impact sports has made in your life? It has taught me teamwork and discipline.

Why do you think youth like yourself should get into sports? To be more disciplined. It helps with staying focused, improving attitude and encourages hard work in the classroom.

How do you or how would you like to "change the game?" I would like to start with just having a positive image. So many athletes get the “big head” and start getting into trouble. I want to be an example of what it looks like to have confidence, character and a good public image.

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