When defensive line coach Don Johnson attended the Bronco Nagurski Award dinner last fall in Charlotte, North Carolina, for which Ball was a finalist, he was flipping through the program and saw a local fullback who was being honored.
Charlotte (N.C.) Latin School fullback Mark Paschal (6-1 ½, 225), was the honoree and when Johnson returned to Westwood, he got in contact with Paschal, sent him an informational packet and requested film.
Later came an offer from UCLA, and then this past weekend, Paschal took what he described as a "very impressive" unofficial visit to UCLA.
"It was a great trip. I am definitely impressed with the coaches, the campus, the facilities," said Paschal.
While Johnson laid the groundwork for Paschal's recruitment, running back coach Eric Bieniemy has now picked it up, and Paschal had plenty of good things to say about Bieniemy. "I spent the majority of the day with Coach Bieniemy. He is a great coach. I toured the campus with him, then a couple of other guys came out, Michael Pitre, Maurice Drew and Jimmy Stephens. They were cool guys."
Paschal also spent some of the morning with head coach Karl Dorrell. "I like Coach Dorrell a lot. I spent about a half an hour in his office talking with him. The coaches there are impressive."
While Paschal says he is still wide open, the trip to UCLA left a definite impression on him. "I have to say, after the trip there, it definitely moved them up to the top. I just came away impressed," said Paschal.
Duke just got a commitment from Paschal's teammate Ryan Radloff, and Radloff is doing his best to get Paschal to follow him to Durham. While speaking to us on the phone, Paschal said, "He's over here right now wearing his Duke stuff. He's trying."
Paschal's father played fullback at North Carolina as well as for the Minnesota Vikings, but the Tar Heels aren't really seriously recruiting him.
As a junior, Paschal amassed solid statistics for a fullback. He rushed for 1,397 yards and 26 touchdowns, averaging around 9 yards a carry. He also garnered over 100 tackles.
While most schools have offered Paschal as a fullback some schools have offered him as a linebacker and as a strong safety.
Paschal attended the Nike Camp in Atlanta and clocked a 4.5 forty, a 4.2 shuttle, jumped 35 inches and repped 22 times on the bench.
"I could have done better, but I did okay."
Paschal will unofficially visit Duke this weekend, then also check out North Carolina for a one-day camp, as well as Virginia and Georgia Tech. He'd like to make a decision before his senior year. And his parents have no problem with him coming out West for school. "They said there is no difference to them whether it's a 6-hour drive or a 5-hour flight."
Paschal has a 3.1 GPA and scored an 1130 on his SAT