Ball Opens Up About Verbal

Ball Opens Up About Verbal

From the atmosphere to the people, the game and, most importantly, the food, there was nothing Westerville offensive tackle Ray Ball didn't like about the University of Wisconsin. Ball breaks his silence to Badger Nation about his decision.

MADISON - Ray Ball finally couldn't take any more discussions and had to turn off his cell phone. In what was supposed to be a day of celebration, Ball had fielded calls from coaches at Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and UCLA, all telling him to make another visit or an official to their school so he can see what college football is all about.

Problem was, Ball already had that experience and he knew nothing was going to top it.

Returning from his official visit and seeing Wisconsin knock off No.1 Ohio State, Ball made the decision to end his recruitment and commit to the Badgers Monday afternoon.

"I am still enjoying my day today with the whole committing and all," said Ball Monday night, his first post-commitment interview. "The coaches that called (today), they never left me alone, saying size like me doesn't come around. Once they see something they want they go for it, and I thank God for my gift he gave me and I will make sure to use it for Wisconsin."

Ball, ranked No.48 among all offensive tackles in the nation by Scout.com, wasn't expected to pick Wisconsin over offers from Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, UCLA, Akron, Ball State and Marshall. Even though he admitted to having the Badgers as one of his favorites since the summer, Ball was planning on taking more official visits after his weekend in Madison.

That changed once he visited for the third time, a trip that made the biggest impression.

"The fact I've been to Wisconsin twice before says a lot because it's far away and all," Ball said. "I just wanted to always get up there and also the visit had a big impact on my decision. One thing I will never forget is that we ate a lot and I loved everything about it. All the players, coaches, freshman Frank Tamakloe (my host) made it a great time at Wisconsin."

Ball had a notion before leaving Westerville-South (Ohio) High that not only was it going to be a good weekend for him, but a good weekend for his future football team, as well.

"I told everybody at my school that we were going to win," Ball said. "I just felt proud when we won and proud of the players because I know they worked hard. When I saw them all on the field beating Ohio State, just relief came out and just so happy for them."

Most importantly, Ball was impressed with the offensive line, as the veteran group playing Ball's style, pro-style ,smash-mouth football, opening up huge running lanes for John Clay and James White all game long.

"They came to play the game from start to when that clock says 0:00," Ball said. "I just loved how the offensive line did and that's what impressed me the most."

Ball originally planned to make official visits to Michigan and UCLA in the coming months, but told those coaches today that he was cancelling the trip and thanked them for their recruitment.

"I felt I had to make a man's decision and I just went with my heart," Ball said. "I did what I had to do and I know I'm making the right choice."

With a great support system at home and the academic support at the university, Ball can't wait to get going. After finishing up his football season with what he hopes to be a state championship, Ball will hit the weight room with a personnel trainer to get ready for what he's about to experience at the University of Wisconsin.

With what he saw over the weekend, he doesn't want to miss a thing.

"I want to represent my new team but stay humble," Ball said. "I need to work really hard in the off season and just pray and be close with my family. I want to thank the Wisconsin staff for believing in me, offering me and I promise that I won't let those guys down."

Ball is Wisconsin's 15th verbal commit of 2011 and second offensive tackle (joining Springfield (MN) Tyler Marz).

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