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Recruiting Thursday: Jackson Pons
3-star safety will continue his football career at Miami of Ohio

When you think of a Super Bowl winning quarterback and a high school football standout, there’s few similarities that come to mind.

However, for Norwin’s all-conference athlete Jackson Pons and former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, there are a few commonalities.

“I was young, maybe one at the time of my parents wedding,” said Pons of witnessing the six-time pro bowl QB. “I think he (Ben Roethlisberger) was dating one of my dad or mom’s friends from high school. They had no clue he was coming.”

“The story goes, that when my dad and mom were at the altar, the priest lowered down to him and said ‘is that Ben Roethlisberger?’ It’s pretty cool because I grew up watching him and he’s one of my favorite players of all-time.”

In addition to bumping into each other at the same wedding, the two will also be able to say they are graduates of the same college. Pons recently punched his commitment to Roethlisberger’s alma mater, Miami of Ohio.

“It’s a huge relief coming off my shoulders,” said the soon-to-be Redhawk on making his college choice. “Being able to go into my senior season and focus on getting better and winning games, it’s a huge stress relief.”

There were many variables that led to Pons choosing Miami of Ohio as his next destination. Besides the strong Mid-American Conference that the program competes in, the school’s business program was also attracting.

But, Miami of Oh. wasn’t the only MAC school that had his attention.

“It came down to Toledo, Miami (Oh.) and Ohio,” the Norwin Knight noted of his college options. “They were all great choices and I felt I couldn’t go wrong with any of those choices.”

Now that he’s made his college decision, he can redirect his focus on the upcoming football season. Pons hopes to help Norwin to a better season in 2023 than the 2022 year, where the Knights finished 1-9 overall and 0-5 in the Big East Conference.

Their lone win came against Fox Chapel in their third game of the year, 27-13. Norwin finished the year losing six consecutive games, including three by shutout.

However, there seems to be a revitalization going on for the North Huntingdon football program.

After nine-year head coach Dave Brozeski stepped down as the head coach in November, former Hempfield football head coach Mike Brown was hired as his replacement. Brown was instrumental in turning around the Spartans football program, guiding them to their first winning season (6-4) since 2013.

And Pons has already acknowledged the change Brown has brought with him to Norwin.

“I’ve noticed in the past few weeks, the culture has started to change,” Pons added of the immediate impact Brown has had on the football team. “You can already feel a change in guys attitudes. Guys are going the extra mile, guys are doing extra work, if someone is taking off a set, you’ll hear about it.”

“If someone were to come into the weight room, you can see from last year to this year, it’s a different vibe.”

This upcoming fall will not only be his final football season in a Norwin uniform, but his final semester as a Norwin student. He will graduate early in December in order to early enroll to Miami of Ohio to help kickstart his career in college.

While there’s still plenty of work ahead of him in both football and the classroom, Pons is excited to enjoy his final year of high school. With the recruiting process over, he can fully focus on football and the perks of being a high school senior.

“I think I’m looking forward to the kid aspect of my senior year,” Pons added on what excites him about his senior year. “I want to enjoy it before I go to college, because it becomes a job once you go to college, so just enjoying that part.”  

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