Reversal of Fortune; Ballard is a Hawkeye

The Iowa Hawkeyes landed another four-star prospect in the Class of 2007 on Tuesday evening when they received the verbal pledge of Lawrence, Kansas (Free State) tight end Christian Ballard. Once a commitment to the hometown Kansas Jayhawks, Ballard talks about the difficulty making the switch in commitement and much more...

The Iowa Hawkeyes carried the momentum of the recruiting trails from this past spring and summer into the early fall on Tuesday evening when they received the verbal commitment of Christian Ballard.

One of the best prospects in the country, Ballard offers a rare combination of size and athleticism that has rarely been found in previous Hawkeye recruiting classes.

Still, Ballard remains a prospect, and has much work to do before he is able to live up to the potential that he has shown.

"After my junior season, I knew I was going to receive division one looks, but I didn't expect to receive offers outside of the local schools," Ballard informed

"I expected to receive looks from the likes of the schools that ended up offering me - Georgia, Oklahoma, Michigan, etc. - but I knew I had a lot of room to improve. I have a division one body, and the size that I knew would attract reruiters, but I also knew I could get a lot beter."

Ballard received his first scholarship offer from the hometown Kansas Jayhawks, and last March, he decided to jump on it.

"I wasn't sure if I'd receive any offers outside of Kansas, and I didn't want someone else to take my spot. I spoke with my parents, and they felt it was a good opportunity for me to play for my hometown school and a program on the rise," Ballard stated.

"Part of me wishes I wouldn't have committed to Kansas so early so I didn't have to put them through so much stress. Calling Coach (Clint) Bowen to inform him of the news was the most difficult thing I've had to had; man, it was hard to deliver the news; but I had to do what is best for me."

Ballard wanted to offer a message to the Jayhawk Nation.

"I want Kansas to know I'll always be a fan, and be rooting for them. I love KU, the school, the campus, everything about it. The football program is going in the right direction, and I'm sorry I won't be able to be a part of it. I want them to know I'm sorry I let them down, but I wish them nothing but the best."

Ballard informed the Hawkeye coaching staff on Tuesday evening of his decision to switch his commitment, and offered the reasoning.

"Every tight end that has started for Iowa is playing in the NFL, and they have a senior (Scott Chandler) who'll be doing the same thing, and a guy coming up in (Tony) Moeaki," added Ballard, who plans to major in art at the University of Iowa. "Coach (Eric) Johnson (Tight Ends Coach) was estatic to hear the news, and told me they really need me. He told me I'm going to love it up there. I was able to talk with Coach Ferentz, too, and he was also very happy to hear the news."

For MUCH more on this story, CLICK HERE for Josh's expanded quotes in the HN Clubhouse.

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