Introducing the 2005 Class: Chris Baloney

Whether the Pac-10 is one of the best conferences in the nation or not, may depend on which bank of the Mississippi River you reside on. However, objective observers will have a hard time proving that there's a better conference than the Pac-10 in terms of passing game efficiency. Thus, cornerbacks like Chris Baloney realize that this conference is the only one their position can truly be put to the test game in and game out.

"I visited Texas Tech and San Diego State," said the 6-0 196 Chris Baloney (pronounced BAL-uh-nay). "But Arizona State is in the Pac-10 and that's where all the competition is. That's where all the good receivers are and I wanted to cover them. As a cornerback, that's where you want to go – to the best passing league."

In the unpredictable world of recruiting, schools at times notice players only after the prospect has took the initiative to be noticed. Baloney is close to ASU's standout linebacker Jamar Williams, and naturally wanted to play on the same team. The cornerback didn't waste time dreaming of this opportunity, and set the wheels in motion himself which led to his eventual scholarship offer, verbal commitment, and signing.

"I wasn't getting recruited by Arizona State in the beginning," recalled Baloney. "But I wanted to send in my tape to them so I can visit them and see what it's like up there. After I sent in my tape, coach Nordquist said that they liked what they saw and wanted me to go on a trip. Everything happened really quick – I sent the tape on Friday and they called me on Monday." The cornerback added that the tape was sent at the very end of his season and was the last one he sent out to any team.

Baloney named Washington, Washington State, Texas Tech, San Diego State, Boise State, and Wisconsin as schools that were seriously recruiting him. However, the Sun Devils were always on his mind. "I was interested in all those programs," he said, "but I really wanted Arizona State to look at my tape and get back with me." Oddly enough, good friend Williams didn't really try and persuade Baloney to join the maroon and gold until the school joined the other programs and heavily pursued the College of the Sequoias star. "Before I sent in my tape, him and I never talked about me coming to Arizona State," remarked Baloney. "When he knew I was visiting, he was telling me to come to Arizona State and not go to those other schools (smile)."

When playing at Langham Creek High School in Houston, Baloney was named all-Houston as a senior, and had 11 interceptions and five touchdowns (two defensive) during that campaign. When he decided to take the JC route, he elected not to go to a school that would be close to home, and settled on the College of the Sequoias. "I wanted to experience new things and be an adult on my own," he commented. "College of the Sequoias fit me real well, because they weren't the best team and I wasn't looking to go to a great team. I wanted to go to a place where I can start and make the team better. Unfortunately we didn't have a lot of good players." The cornerback added that his desire to play Division-I football far from home was one of the main factors that helped him settle on the Sun Devils.

Baloney was listed by College Football News as the No. 9 junior college cornerback in the nation. He was clocked at the 40-yard dash running a 4.43, and collected six interceptions and 140 tackles in his junior college career. "One thing I need to work on is my tackling," he said as he self-assessed his skills. "I can cover well and that's my strong point – going one-on-one with a receiver on an island." Baloney played safety in high school, but was persuaded to play corner in junior college.

He's considered as a player that has great versatility and can easily shuttle back and forth between all secondary positions if needed. Nevertheless, with an unclear cornerback situation at ASU, would he be content at playing exclusively at that position? "I want to come in and really learn the system and see how things go from there," he replied. "I'm a big team player, and wherever they put me I'll play. My main thing is to win and have fun when I'm playing."

Baloney naturally has NFL aspirations, and at ASU he will be coached by three time Pro-Bowler Mark Carrier: "He's really cool and I like him better than some other defensive backs coaches I talked to," said Baloney of his new position coach. "His leadership and his NFL experience can help me be a better player and show me what it takes to get to the NFL and play cornerback."

Baloney has earned his AA degree, and is scheduled to arrive in Tempe this coming weekend, and room with his old high school teammate Jamar Williams. If his success at ASU is anything like his old high school friend, the Sun Devils' may have just found that much needed physical yet quick cornerback they have been yearning for.

Recruit Profile

Name

Chris Baloney

Junior College

College of the Sequoias

Position

CB

Height

6-0

Weight

196

Date of Birth

2/5/83

Birthplace

Houston, Tex.

Nickname

"Everybody mispronounces my name and calls me Baloney (BA-LONI). It used to make me mad, but it doesn't any more."

Favorite TV Show

"Fresh Prince of Bel Air."

Favorite Movie

"Armageddon"

Favorite Singer/Band

"Michael Jackson"

Favorite Food

"Gumbo – I'm a southern boy."

Favorite Drink

"Sprite"

Favorite Athlete

"Michael Jordan"

Favorite Pro Team

"Boston Red Sox"

Person you most admire

"My mother. I didn't have a father for a lot of years, and she did a great job being a parent."

First Football Memory

"Getting the ball and running the ball real fast. I started out playing football in junior high."

One Thing most people don't know about me

"That I'm really shy."

Why did you choose ASU?

"In the beginning it was just because of Jamar. But when I visited Arizona State I really liked the atmosphere there more than my other trips."

Where do you want to be in ten years?

"In the NFL after winning a SuperBowl (smile). If that doesn't work out I'd like to go into real estate."

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