Ball getting closer to a decision?

For weeks now Marcus Ball has explored his options. The recruiting process for the Westerville-South (Ohio) athlete is about to come to an end perhaps as early as this week. Which two programs are the final tandem he is looking at and what are the chances of each school? Devils Digest caught up with Ball for all the latest on his recruitment.

A couple of weekends ago Ball, a Wisconsin commit, visited Arizona State and was pleasantly surprised by his experience in Tempe. According to him, even Mother Nature cooperated during that time.

"When I went there to Arizona State it was different scenario I guess," Ball stated. "It was 50 degrees so it wasn't hot. You think about seeing all the parties and the girls there, but it was so cold that I didn't see all of that. So it was blessing that it was cold because I got to see the real side of the school, if you will.

"I met Mr. Jean Boyd and a lot of people on the academic support staff there. I really was impressed the most by the academic support. Mr. Boyd is an amazing guy with high character that is going to be there for many years. Everyone I met there, coaches, players, seems very genuine."

Ball was hosted on the trip by ASU quarterback Michael Eubank. The redshirt freshman reiterated to Ball the effectiveness of ASU's academic support for its student-athletes.

"Their graduation rate, especially with African-American student-athletes is very high," Ball noted. "He said that the coaches don't tell every player they recruit that he has a chance to make an impact right away. So the coaches are men of their word. They will give you an opportunity and you have to capitalize on it."

It's no coincidence that the linebacker was being hosted by an offensive player, since the Sun Devils can see the Westerville standout play on both sides of the ball, the only school that is pursuing Ball with that approach.

"They said that they like me at wide receiver too," Ball remarked. "They didn't say exactly what wide receiver role I would play. I don't know if it more appealing to me that they are recruiting me both on offense and defense. But what's good about that is that I can make an impact quicker on a team that is recruiting me for both spots because you're diverse and have more opportunities.

"If things don't work out at receiver, I know I can go to a defensive spot and do some damage there. The window of opportunity is expanded for me to make damage at either spot. They just want me to play at the position I would have the most success at."

The 6-3 205-pound Marcus Ball added that on offense he could be a mismatch for linebackers with his speed, and that he could use his height and speed on defense to come down and hit or blitz, and also be in coverage.

The Westerville-South athlete pledged to Wisconsin in November, and has an obvious tie there with current Badgers' offensive lineman Ray Ball. However, the coaching change in Madison naturally had the younger Ball brother explore his options. Earlier today he hosted the Badgers' new head coach Gary Andersen.

"Wisconsin is a great institution," Ball said. "As far as the balance between academics and football. They have been pretty successful. I'm still committed to them, but if I was done, if you will, I wouldn't be shopping around a little bit. I was thinking about visiting Tennessee but didn't want to prolong the process because I know which schools I would truly want to go to.

"I'm just weighing the pros and cons between Wisconsin and Arizona State, so I can make the best decision for me."

ASU Head Coach Todd Graham will have an in-home visit with Ball on Monday, and Ball commented that he could make a decision as early as this week.

"When I look at a school I'm looking at the everyday life for a student," Ball explained. "You have to balance football with academics, and also social life. Academic support, the sincerity of the coaches and having a good relationship with them with an open door. You want to be comfortable with them so you can talk about anything."

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