Another commit looking at the big red?

You've heard this one before: Basically, said recruit looks at said first offer and decides then and there that was all they were going to get. Thus, they commit. What happens later? Yep, here come the offers and now things are a little different. How different? It depends, but ask current Kansas commit Christian Ballard. He knows all too well.

When Lawrence, Kansas' Christian Ballard committed to Kansas way back in March, he had zero offers on the table. Well, except for Kansas, of course. Since that time things have dramatically changed. One offer turned to two, then three and right now he's sitting on 13.

Even now Ballard finds it hard to believe. "I believe in myself and what I can do, but when I committed, I figured that was it and this was the best opportunity I was going to get," he said. "Which is great, because Kansas is a great school and I really like the coaching staff."

Yes, that's all great and everything, but back to the blow up in his reputation, only complimented by the recent rankings, which have him touted as one of the better tight end AND defensive end prospects in the country.

You can say all you want about rankings, but they do have an affect on players. "I saw them and I guess I was surprised and it kind of makes you think," Ballard said. "The offers were enough, but I guess the ranking kind of just puts it out there, that people appreciate what you've done."

It wouldn't be hard to appreciate what he's done, because it's obvious there are a ton of schools who do. As a tight end, Ballard caught 13 passes for 173 yards and on defense, he had 37 tackles, six of those sacks, along with notching three blocked kicks. At 6 foot, 4 inches tall and 264 pounds, there's a lot of athleticism in a pretty big package.

If you just went by the stats, you might assume that defense was going to be his bread and butter, and the position everyone is recruiting him to play. Quite the contrary, though, as most everyone wants him for the offensive side of the ball.

It's about mismatches and at his size, with 4.7 speed and a 30 inch vertical to boot, you've got one major prep mismatch right here. "I run a lot of fades, where I just go up and get the ball," Ballard said. "I don't run into many players who can really match up with me, so we basically exploit the defense, when I am going against a linebacker or a safety."

That's something to be proud of, but what Ballard takes the most pride in isn't necessarily what he can give you as far as making those jaw-dropping plays, but what he can give you in being able to do that, but the other stuff as well, which is often overlooked. "I'm really proud of my blocking," he said. "There are a lot of tight ends out there that are good receivers, but maybe not great at the line. Then there are a lot of tight ends, who pretty much just block."

"I think I can do it all, and I am confident with whatever I have to do."

That confidence exists on the field, but off of it, it's starting to wane more and more each day. When Christian committed to the Jayhawks, it was a done deal, recruiting was over and he was just gearing up for his senior season.

Now, though, while Ballard will tell you point blank that he's still a proud future member of the team, when you have offers from schools like Georgia, Oklahoma, Arizona State, UCLA, Nebraska, Iowa and Michigan, it's darn hard not to take a look.

"I'm looking around, but for right now, I'm still a Jayhawk," he said. "It's hard not to think about these other schools, though. Especially a place like Georgia, where I grew up, it's pretty difficult not to take a good look at them."

Georgia is great, but Ballard said that all of the schools on this ever-growing list grab his attention in one way or another. So much so, he's thinking of some visits, but even now as his popularity is rising, he's still thinking of the initial pledge he made. "I haven't really made up my mind about anything when it comes to visits this summer or anything else," Christian said. "And I would never take an official visit unless I was actually de-committing from the team."

"Everything is just kind of up in air right now and I am trying to figure it all out. That's probably the hardest part."

You are sitting there reading this and if you aren't a Kansas fan, you are thinking that this isn't much of a problem. To go from only one offer and apparent obscurity to double-digit offers, with the label of "star." That's not a problem, that's a gift.

Well, not always.

Christian said that while he's feeling pretty darn fortunate to be this hot of a name right now, he's riding that edge between happy and maybe a little bit of guilt. You might say that he knows there are lots of reasons to look around – 12 in fact and potentially a whole lot more.

That still doesn't change what his official status is and he knows what it will take to do just that. "I'm still a commit and if I ended up at Kansas, I know I would be at a great place for me as an athlete and a student," Christian said. "I am thinking about things in that way."

"But I'm looking around, just so I know that I looked at all of my options and made sure about what I wanted to do."

As to where Nebraska lies in all this, Ballard said that they are amongst the offers he has, a school with a noted tradition, and a team, which like any other, will get an honest look before he decides anything official. "They have a good history and that was a big win for them against Michigan last season," Ballard said. "It's a good school."

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