Balluff set for important senior season

Jesse Balluff hopes to turn recruiting interest into opportunities. The two-way standout from Kaneland (Ill.) High School discusses his recruitment in this Boiler Sports Report story.

Jesse Balluff holds just one scholarship offer on the table, but has received plenty of recruiting interest. With that in mind, he hit the road this summer and participated in several summer camps.

A speedy running back and safety at Kaneland (Ill.) High School, Balluff attended camps at Purdue, Illinois, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan, looking to show off his stuff.

"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.

Chris Emma has covered recruiting, college athletics and professional baseball for FOX Sports Next since 2009. Emma covered the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Northwestern Wildcats, and currently covers the Purdue Boilermakers. A Chicago native, he resides in West Lafayette.
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