Neiron Ball had an idea that the recruiting process would be a wild ride.
Anytime a prospect is ranked No. 208 overall in the Scout300, No. 122 in the Southeast 150, and No. 13 in the Peach State, attention from college coaches is sure to come.
For now, though, Ball, who is ranked the 14th best outside linebacker in the land, is focusing on his senior season at Jackson (Ga.) with the hopes of improving from his junior campaign when he amassed a staggering 104 tackles – 35 for loss – and 19 sacks.
“I’ve been real busy with football practice this summer,” he said. “I’m trying to do all of my workouts. I haven’t been able to talk to a lot of coaches.”
Ball’s physical tools (6-foot-3, 200 pounds, 4.5 speed) give him the versatility to play both linebacker and defensive end. It didn’t take long for the Tigers to notice the two-position athlete, especially with a lack of defensive linemen in Louisiana.
Defensive coordinator John Chavis and defensive line coach Brick Haley offered him back in March, but since then, Ball hasn’t talked to the coaches much with the exception of a couple of times.
“I haven’t called the LSU coaches in awhile,” he said. “I did talk to Coach Haley back when I got the offer. I’m probably going to call them again soon.”
In addition to not talking to many coaches this summer, Ball also hasn’t been to any summer camps. However, that will change in the near future.
“I’m going to the Florida camp in July,” he said. “I’m also probably going to the Alabama camp and Dawg Day at Georgia. I probably won’t go on any visits, though.”
LSU will hold its final summer camp session the fourth week of July, but Ball said he doesn’t have any plans of attending. A visit to Baton Rouge could be in the works, but he is hesitant about calling it a done deal.
“There’s about a 90 percent chance I’m going to visit LSU,” he said.
Georgia is seen as a top contender because of its proximity and family ties - his brother Neland is a Bulldog - but Ball was quick to deny that he has a favorite.
“I don’t really have a top five yet,” he said. “I like a lot of schools – Florida, Georgia, Tennessee. I just haven’t got the chance to visit LSU or Alabama.”
Ball said Georgia’s coaching staff is attractive to him because of the familiarity that he has with it, but LSU also gets high praise from him.
“I know LSU has a good football program,” he said. “Their history of defensive linemen is awesome. You’d be stupid not to give them a look.”