Ball Has Consistent Contact With UMD, Others

An update on Stafford (Fredericksburg, Va.) junior offensive tackle Josh Ball.

Stafford (Fredericksburg, Va.) junior offensive tackle Josh Ball will take a much-needed break for Valentine’s Day weekend. In addition to schoolwork and daily workouts, the 6-foot-6, 305-pounder has spent every weekend since mid-January trekking to college campuses as he attempts to narrow down a growing offer list that’s at 15 and counting.

“It’s been pretty busy, just going to these junior days and trying to keep up with all these [college] coaches,” said Ball, who holds offers from West Virginia, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Wake Forest, Penn State, N.C. State, South Carolina, Iowa, Illinois, Vanderbilt, Duke and Pittsburgh, among others. “Pretty much I’ve just been working out every single day, keeping in contact with these coaches at night and then going on junior day visits on weekends. So, yeah, pretty busy.”

Thus far, Ball has been able to see Maryland Jan. 17, followed by UVA, WVU and finally Virginia Tech. After taking Feb. 14 off, he’ll resume his visits by seeing N.C. State Feb. 21 and Penn State Feb. 28.

Others on the radar include South Carolina and Pittsburgh, in addition to two programs that haven’t offered yet: Clemson and Florida State.

Ball said assistants from FSU and CU have both started giving him increased attention, while Kentucky and Michigan have initiated contact as well.

“But of the schools that have offered me, I pretty much stay in touch with all of them pretty equally,” Ball said. “I try to talk to all the staffs the same amount and keep up with all the coaches. There’s really not one staff I’m in touch with more than the others.”

For Maryland purposes, Ball has been exchanging messages with area recruiter Chad Wilt on Twitter. The Virginia tackle called UMD’s defensive line coach “a really cool, energetic guy” who Ball enjoys interacting with. Ball has also kept in close contact with Maryland’s offensive line coach, Greg Studrawa, who visited Stafford during the open recruiting period.

“Coach Wilt, Coach [Randy] Edsall, Coach Stud, they’re all great coaches and really good people,” Ball said. “I think Coach Stud is a great coach, I like how he teaches and obviously his reputation for developing linemen. I was at the games against Ohio State and Iowa, and I liked how the [offensive line] worked and all that.

“And Maryland, it’s just a really good school [academically]. So, yeah, I really like them, and it’s an overall good school and program.”

Ball’s most recent College Park, Md., trip was Jan. 17, when the Terps’ hoops team hosted Michigan State. The big tackle said he enjoyed the atmosphere inside the Xfinity Center, though his main reason for returning to UMD was to see the campus.

“I had never gotten a chance to drive around before, so that was good,” Ball said. “Like I said, I went to games there against Ohio State and Iowa, and I was up there for their camp last summer, but I hadn’t really seen the school before.

“And I liked it; the campus was big, beautiful and I like what they’re doing with the facilities there. They’re upgrading a lot of things and getting a new indoor facility, which is going to be awesome. I got to go around to the business and law school, see the freshmen dorms and just ride around campus. I talked to Coach Edsall and Coach Stud a little more too. So that was good, just getting to know them a lot better.”

After Maryland, Ball trekked to, in succession, Virginia, WVU and Va Tech. He lauded each of their coaching staffs, noting how he’s continuing to build relationships with each.

Ball said he was disappointed that ex-UVA offensive line coach Scott Wachenheim left to take over VMI, but he’s already started to develop a rapport with new O-line coach Dave Borbely. The Stafford product also enjoyed walking the grounds and seeing the dorms as well.

WVU, meanwhile, has been hot on Ball’s trail for some time now, and some consider the Mountaineers an early front-runner. Ball didn’t go that far, but he said he “definitely [has] a great relationship” with headman Dana Holgorsen, and assistants Lonnie Galloway and Ron Crook. He mentioned that he’s “really comfortable” in Morgantown, W.Va., and always enjoys visiting.

Finally, Ball said the Va Tech staff had been pushing to get him on campus, and was finally able to Feb. 7. The offensive lineman said he hadn’t had too much contact with assistant Frank Beamer and head coach Bud Foster, but following a standout visit, he’s forging a relationship.

“They were all good visits, but all of these schools recruiting me, they’re all equal,” Ball said. “After I see all these schools, and go on junior days, I’ll narrow my list down and start listing leaders.”

Ball said he is unsure when he’ll begin making cuts to his offer list. But, if he plans to keep with his intention of committing before his senior season, it’ll have to be sometime this spring.

“I really want to find a school before the season, so I don’t have to worry about colleges during my senior year, but we’ll see how it goes,” Ball said. “It might be after the season if I can’t decide, so we’ll see.”

Ball is coming off a dominant junior season where he rotated between right tackle, left tackle and left guard. A noted pass protector following his sophomore year, he picked up his run blocking prowess as well in 2014.

“Junior year, I think I did very good this year. Just based off film, all these coaches offering me, it sort of shows that. I think if you watch the film I did really, really well,” Ball said. “Our run blocking was amazing this year, because we wanted to do a little more smash-mouth and run the ball more, so I think I did really well there. And pass blocking, I did well with that too. We didn’t pass as much this year, because we had a monster fullback and wanted to run the ball, but when we did throw I did very well.”

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