Utah landed a big piece of their recruiting puzzle on Wednesday night, signing Blinn College safety Corrion Ballard to a letter of intent.
For Ballard, who also had offers from Nebraska, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State, Utah seemed like a natural fit. “I feel like Utah was in the best position to get me to the next level. I loved Coach Scalley, Coach Whittingham, the fans, everybody. I liked Utah a lot,” he said.
Ballard delayed his decision until signing day, but felt an immediate connection to the program while taking his official visit last month. “As soon as I went on the visit, I felt right. When I talked to the coaches, they cared about Corrion the person not just Corrion the player. I felt at home,” he said.
Utah defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley was a big reason behind Ballard’s decision to commit. Scalley had been working for nearly a year to develop a relationship with him, and actively sold his vision for how Ballard would fit in the Utah defense. “He had a great plan for me. They’re going to have me do so much stuff and show how versatile I really am. They’re going to put me in a position to show how good I really am. It’s going to be a good year. I can’t wait.
Ballard could play several roles for the Utes, depending on whether All-Pac-12 safety Marcus Williams enters the NFL draft. If Williams returns, Ute fans could potentially see him share the backfield with Ballard, while Chase Hansen plays linebacker. If Williams leaves for the draft, Ballard will be expected to compete immediately for the starting free safety spot.
Either way, Ballard is expected to contribute immediately, and he plans to play a lot. “I’m a true free safety. I love to play the deep middle. That’s what I‘ve been doing my whole career. I’m going to fit right in to [the Utah defense] because of my intangibles,” he explained.
In the meantime, Ballard is getting ready to begin his career as a Ute. He’ll arrive on campus in time for the beginning of the semester on January 9. And the four star safety is coming with a confidence that befits his status as his JUCO conference defensive player of the year.
“Watch out next season. I feel like I’m going to go dominate, just like I’ve been doing,” he said.