The best football player in the Sunflower League is heading to the best college football program in Kansas.
SM East defensive back Kyle Ball, whose post-season honors included the Elite 81 Ryan Lilja Award and the Sunflower Football Blog’s Most Valuable Player Award, on Tuesday received and accepted a scholarship offer to play at Kansas State University. Ball will “greyshirt,” meaning he won’t enroll at K-State until Jan. 2016, extending his playing eligibility through 2020.
Ball had already received D1 program offers from the Air Force Academy and the University of Kansas, but K-State had been his first choice. Ball said Tuesday evening that the offer was a dream come true.
“It’s been my number one choice for a long time,” he said Tuesday night. “I finally got the chance today.”
It would be understatement to say the last few days have been stressful for the 6’2”, 230 pound end who notched more than 270 tackles and 20 sacks during his career with the Lancers. Not only is it finals week at SM East, but Ball had started receiving pressure from the KU program to make a decision one way or another on their offer. On Monday, hoping to help bring some clarification to the situation, SM East coach Dustin Delaney reached out to K-State to see if they had decided whether to make Ball an offer as well.
On Tuesday, Ball received a message on Twitter from K-State defensive ends coach Blake Seiler hinting that the school was ready to bring him on.
“I started getting all jumpy and jittery,” he said.
“I committed right there,” he said. “They ran the phone over to Coach [Bill] Snyder and he welcomed me to the family.”
Luckily, Ball’s only final on Tuesday was weightlifting — a subject in which he likely needs little additional study. But he was more than a little worried about the Environmental Science and English tests he faces Wednesday.
“The last couple of days have been pretty hectic,” he said. “I can’t say I’ve studied as much as I meant to.”
Ball said he’ll likely enroll in classes at Johnson County Community College in the fall and also train with former K-State linebacker and 10-year NFL veteran Mark Simoneau, who runs a sports gym in south Overland Park.
“I’m going to focus on getting big and getting ready to play spring ball,” Ball said.