Joey Balthazor Gets Preferred Walk-On Offer

Joey Balthazor, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound linebacker from Hartland (WI) Arrowhead, has received a preferred walk-on offer from Minnesota. Balthazor helped lead Arrowhead to a 27-1 mark the past two seasons. He attended the Minnesota Elite camp this past summer. GoldenSports.Net caught up with Balthazor and talked to him about the latest on his recruitment.

Joey Balthazor led the Warhawks to a 13-1 mark, losing to Mequon Homestead 13-11 in the Wisconsin Division One State Championship title as they failed on a fourth quarter two-point conversion. The two schools have had quite a tradition the past three years.

The Warhawks won the 2007 title with a 31-7 victory over Mequon Homestead as they finished with a 14-0 mark. The game was revenge for Arrowhead, which lost to Homestead 35-0 in the 2006 title game, ending a 12-2 season.

Balthazor has several options for college this upcoming fall.

"I have a scholarship offer from South Dakota. I have an opportunity to play at Princeton and a preferred walk-on from Minnesota."

Balthazor has had a chance to check out some of the campuses.

"I have not visited South Dakota. I have been to Minnesota twice, once for the camp and once for an unofficial last year and I went to Princeton for their camp last summer."

Balthazor said that he does not have a current favorite.

"I am keeping my options open, I guess I would say. I also might have an opportunity for a preferred-walk-on from Northwestern. Their walk-on process is a lot different. Number-wise, it is harder to get a walk-on than it is to get a scholarship, because they can only take four walk-ons because of limited roster space. What they have to do, is to evaluate all their walk-ons. I am in the mix for that, too."

I'm pretty sure that if nothing turns up, I'll make my decision after signing day.

Balthazor is an excellent student with a 3.98 GPA after getting a B+ in AP Physics and a 31 ACT score. He had considered majoring in Science or Engineering, but has really changed his mind.

"I made my decision. I am going to go pre-med."

Balthazor said the decision to pursue pre-med also affected his choice of schools.

"It actually affects it a lot. South Dakota just built an 80 million dollar med school. Minnesota is great for pre-med, Northwestern is great for pre-med. Princeton is great for anything.The schools that I had my choices narrowed down to is totally fine for me, academically."

Balthazor played both safety and linebacker in high school, but figures to play linebacker in college.

"I think mostly all of them are looking at me as a linebacker. I'm probably not big enough to play inside right now. I guess whatever position they want to put me at is what I am going to play."

Balthazor has a good understanding of Minnesota.

"Out of all the schools, I probably know the most about Minnesota. I know that they just got a new defensive coordinator, Kevin Cosgrove. He used to be at Wisconsin. They have a brand new O-line coach. The defensive backs coach (Ronnie Lee) is now co-defensive coordinator. He used to be at Wisconsin also. I think that both Minnesota and Northwestern are definitely on the rise. Northwestern should have beaten Northwestern in their bowl game. Minnesota is getting a brand new stadium this year and Brewster is a great coach. I proably know the most about Minnesota."

Minnesota has had excellent success with walk-ons such as Mike Rallis, Ben Kuznia, Kevin Mannion, Marcus Sherels and Mike Sherels, players who have earned scholarship and even became starters. Balthazor said that both Minnesota and Northwestern have talked to him about their history with former walk-ons.

"Yes, they have. Both schools have talked to me about guys like that. They definitely mentioned that to me. I'm pretty sure that Minnesota offered only one linebacker in my class because two players that are a year older than me couldn't play last year. One was an injury (Sam Maresh) and the other (Spencer Reeves) was grade issues. They are bringing them both in this year. They are bringing in three linebacker, but only one is in my class. I'm look at that and Northwestern has four linebackers on scholarship in my class and Minnesota has one. What would be the better place to walk-on? I kind of look at my chances for there. It is a long process. It's tough."

Balthazor attended the Minnesota Northwestern and Princeton football camps. Balthazor previously told GoldenSports.Net that there was plenty to like about Northwestern.

"I'm really impressed by Northwestern, I liked the coaches and the stadium," he said. "They are getting new weights and field turf in their practice facility. Their defensive coordinator is one of the best around. Defensive coordinator (and safeties coach) Mike Hankwitz is recruiting me and he was defensive coordinator at Wisconsin."

Balthazor played football, basketball, baseball and track as a freshman and sophomore, but stuck with just football and track this past year. He broke the school record in the triple jump with 42-3, just missing to the state tournament.

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