Stingy Business

With no big in-state offensive line prospects in the 2011 recruiting cycle, Wisconsin has headed out of state to find some big talent. At 6-foot-7 and 325 pounds, Westerville South Ray Ball is just that, and his positive views of Madison have the Badgers in his top five.

MADISON - Growing up in the talent-rich football state of Ohio, Ray Ball knows what being stingy is all about.

Ball, one of the top offensive line prospects in Ohio, is 6-foot-7, 325 pounds and can push people around with ease for Westerville South. Still, Ball knows he's not the best the state has to offer, which adds more fuel to his competitive fire.

"Ohio is one of the top five states for high school football in the nation," Ball told Badger Nation. "In football, you want to be the best and you have to persevere to be the best. You have to be stingy to get what you want and make it to the next level and I feel I can do that. For me, I've been blessed with my size to make it to the next level, and I want to continue playing."

Holding nine offers, Ball - a three-star prospect ranked the 58th-best offensive tackle in the county by - will certainly get a chance to compete for talented team in a top-tier conference: announcing his top five as Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, UCLA and Wisconsin. While most athletes have their top schools all even, Ball has three distinctively in front for now.

"Truthfully, I have Wisconsin, Kentucky and Indiana as the primary top schools because I have visited them," Ball said. "I haven't gone to UCLA on an unofficial yet or gotten a good look at them. Everything I have heard about them (UCLA) is good, which is why I want them in my top five for now."

When asked about his favorites, the first school Ball mentioned without hesitation was Wisconsin. Citing the Badgers being a prominent Big Ten school in the Midwest area, Ball has a good feel for what Wisconsin offers.

"That offensive line is huge to me," Ball said. "With Joe Rudolph having played (at UW) and now recruiting my area, it gives me a good feel. He's told me so many facts about Wisconsin and the reasons I should go there. Every question I asked him, I got a very positive answer from him."

Having taken two unofficial visits to the Wisconsin campus, Ball has also gotten a chance to mingle with other members of the coaching staff and members of UW's offensive line. Ball was also a recipient of a personal visit from Rudolph and Offensive Line Coach Bob Bostad to Ball's house in Westerville.

"The first time I went (to Madison), I was really nervous," Ball said. "The coaches were really happy to see me then and you know, that's one thing that hasn't changed. The coaches were welcoming and nice but I know once that football time comes, they aren't going to be so nice. They are real cool and I've become real comfortable with them. Wisconsin is a real big school for me."

Not only does Ball know about being stingy, he knows about business. Growing up in a family of businessmen, Ball is planning on officials to UCLA, Michigan and Wisconsin with his father and uncle, but plans on banking the other two trips for other potential offers down the road.

"I am just really enjoying the ride as I go through the season, seeing how many more colleges will offer me," Ball said, who plans to commit no later than the middle of his high school season. "I am just keeping my options open but when I commit, I am sticking with that school. If another school comes in, it's like the product has already been sold. That's just the way my family is."

When it comes to being stingy at the college level, Ball already has a believer in how good he can be for business.

"Each time I talked to Coach Bielema in his office by myself, he told me that if I stay serious, from age 18 to 23, I could be the stingiest guy ever," Ball said. "You have to persevere to make it to the next level. That's my goal and I want to find a school that can help me get there."

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