There’s going to be some changes afoot at ESPN’s College GameDay and the SEC Network all due to Samantha Ponder’s departure to the mothership’s NFL coverage. The Big Lead reports that Maria Taylor will replace Ponder at College GameDay and on Saturday primetime college football games on ESPN/ABC. Ponder had previously filled those roles and she’ll get a high profile position as host of Sunday NFL Countdown this fall.

Taylor who was the host of SEC Nation last season will fill Ponder’s former roles as a feature reporter on GameDay and roam the sidelines for the Chris Fowler/Kirk Herbstreit broadcast team.

Taylor hosted the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament for ESPN/ESPN2 this past March.

Replacing Taylor on SEC Nation will be Laura Rutledge. She’s been with SEC Network since 2014 and has filled several roles including a host for the nightly SEC Now studio show and SEC Nation. And she was the sideline reporter for ESPN’s Thursday night college football telecasts last fall.

SEC Nation is the SEC Network’s version of College GameDay making visits across the conference during football season. Last year’s cast included Taylor, Rutledge, Tim Tebow, Paul Finebaum and Marcus Spears.

The Big Lead cites “a highly placed source with knowledge of the news” for its story. ESPN is not commenting.

The moves make sense as Ponder’s departure from college football left some holes at the network, but it appears now that the the vacancy has been filled.

[The Big Lead]

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.