Balloon still wide open

Tampa Bay Jefferson running back/defensive back Josh Balloon has stuck to his plan to not concentrate on recruiting until after the season. But he does have a list of schools he will consider the most when the time comes.

Josh Balloon, the 6-foot, 207-pound running back/defensive back from Tampa Bay Jefferson High School, said he's having the best football season of his life.

"We lost one game, but we're 6-1 now and three games away from the playoffs," Balloon said. "I don't really keep up with the stats, but as long as we win, I know I contributed as a major factor to the offense and defense. Pretty much every game was my best game."

Balloon helped lead his team to a victory over the No. 6 team in the state last weekend.

"They were huge, and they had a lot of prospects too, but they couldn't keep up with us. Not only did we have the power but we had the speed, and we just overpowered them."

Tampa Jefferson has six players offered by the Badgers and none of them have committed yet. Balloon said his teammates all share his philosophy to wait on recruiting until after the season.

"They are pretty much saying the same thing I am. A couple of them took some official visits…I really don't think about it at all," Balloon said. "I've put it aside because I think it's a distraction. I think if I let it get to me, it will mess me up, playing my game and focusing on my schoolwork and stuff like that. I don't let myself get sucked into that."

Balloon named the schools he will consider for official visits following his season – San Diego State, Oregon State, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Auburn, Vanderbilt, Boston College, Northwestern, Ole Miss and Connecticut.

"They are all No. 1 right now. I don't have any favorites," Balloon said. "But I really like Wisconsin. I like Coach (Brian Murphy). He kept in contact with me over the summer, sending me letters. We have a nice relationship. All of the guys here like Wisconsin."

Wisconsin's veterinary medicine program is another thing he likes about the school. But he hasn't decided whether the Badgers will be on his list of official visits.

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