"I was hoping to prove to them that I can excel in their programs," Balluff said.
As it turns out, Balluff made quite the strong impression. He posted a 4.43 40-yard dash time at Northern Illinois, then a similar score at Western Michigan, doing so in front of former Kaneland Knight P.J. Fleck, the Broncos' new head coach.
At Purdue and Illinois, Balluff impressed with his agility and athleticism—about all one could hope to show in non-contact drills. Both schools made it clear that they wanted to see how his performance would translate to the football field, asking to see his senior game film.
"It's motivation to do my thing and do what's best for my team," Balluff said of the new challenge ahead.
To prepare for his important senior season, Balluff has been training in Kaneland's team workouts, including voluntary practices and 7-on-7 tournaments, plus the usual weight-lifting regiments. He's not letting the critical season become a pressure but he knows the realities on the line.
"It's kind of important, because I've always wanted to play college football," Balluff said.
With a strong showing this season, Balluff will have the chance to play big-time football. Northern Illinois and Western Michigan are close to extending offers and both Illinois and Purdue have him on their recruiting boards.
"Whatever happens, happens," he said.
While the interest from Purdue hasn't been as frequent for Balluff, he's hoping to change that. There's only one way to make that happen, and it's on the football field.