Defensive Tackle/Defensive End
University of Iowa Hawkeyes
Lawrence Free State High School
Throughout his career with the Hawkeyes, Ballard has displayed versatility that has allowed Iowa to use him in multiple spots along their defensive front. He spent the first two years of his career at left defensive end before moving inside and starting all 13 games of his junior season at defensive tackle. In his final season, Ballard rotated often at both spots, starting eight contests on the outside and five more inside.
Ballard's versatility makes him one of the more intriguing defenders available in the 2011 draft. The mammoth defensive lineman lacks great pass rushing skills off the edge, but is very stout at the point and has proven himself a force against the run. His size and strength could see him earn a spot as a five-technique defensive end for teams employing a 3-4 scheme. Ball clubs that utilize the 4-3 defense will prefer him along the interior as a run-stuffing defensive tackle that can also generate a bit of an inside pass rush.
Ballard has helped Iowa produce some of the nation's elite front walls. In his inaugural season with the Hawkeyes, the team gave up 122.0 rushing yards per game and ranked 24th nationally. When Ballard moved into a starting role in 2008, Iowa produced the nation's ninth-ranked run defense, allowing just 94.0 yards per game on the ground. The Hawkeyes placed a respectable 34th in 2009 after surrendering 123.62 rushing yards, but posted their highest ranking during his senior campaign in 2010 by placing sixth in the country after allowing 101.54 yards per game.
Over the past two seasons, Ballard has registered 94 stops vs. the ground game, holding runners to just 195 yards and 2.07 yards per carry. He allowed just one run of 10 yards or longer during that span, and took down 13 ball carriers at the line of scrimmage for no gain. In his 49-game career, he's managed 12.0 sacks for minus 78 yards and 21.5 stops for losses of 99 yards.
Ballard was a three-sport athlete at Lawrence Free State High School (KS), lettering in football, basketball and track and field. As a senior on the gridiron, he earned first-team All-State and All-Conference honors while leading his team to an 11-1 overall record. The team captain hauled in 23 passes for 287 yards (12.48 ypc) and five touchdowns from his tight end position.
Ballard concluded his prep career with 50 receptions for 558 yards (11.16 ypc) and six scores. He was one of the nation's most highly regarded prospects, earning four-star ratings by both Rivals.com and Scout.com. Rivals ranked him as the 10th-best tight end in the country and the fourth-best recruit in the state of Kansas, while Scout recognized him as the nation's 10th-best defensive end.
Ballard committed to the University of Kansas in February prior to his senior season, but switched from the Jayhawks to the Hawkeyes in September. "I just loved the official visit, and feel that Iowa is the best fit for me and for my future," said Ballard. "They're a winning program that has a lot of positives to sell. I built a great relationship with the coaches up there at Iowa."
Ballard enrolled at the University of Iowa in 2007 and was one of 11 true freshmen to see game action that season. He played in 10 contests and registered 15 tackles (five solos), including 2.5 sacks for minus 23 yards and 4.0 stops for losses of 25 yards. He also returned two kickoffs for 32 yards.
As a sophomore in 2008, Ballard earned a starting spot on the defensive line during spring practice. He started all 13 games at left defensive end and ranked 11th on the team with 41 tackles (14 solos), including one sack for minus nine yards and 3.5 stops for losses of 16 yards. He also blocked a field goal attempt and forced one fumble, adding five quarterback pressures and one pass deflection.
Ballard moved from defensive end to defensive tackle during 2009 fall camp and started all 13 games there during his junior campaign. He had a breakout season, registering career-highs with 54 tackles (18 solos), 5.5 sacks for minus 27 yards and 9.0 stops for losses of 35 yards. He added five quarterback pressures and garnered an All-Big 10 Conference honorable mention by the league's coaches.
As a senior in 2010, Ballard rotated between the interior and the outside of the defensive line. He started eight contests at left defensive end and five others at defensive tackle. He ranked 11th on the team with 43 tackles (23 solos) and placed fourth among Hawkeyes defenders with 3.0 sacks for minus 19 yards and 5.0 stops for losses of 23 yards. He added two pass deflections and a forced fumble, and earned an all-conference honorable mention for the second-straight season.
Ballard started 39 of 49 games for Iowa (21 at left defensive end, 18 at defensive tackle)…
Recorded 153 tackles (60 solos) with 12.0 sacks for minus 78 yards and 21.5 stops for losses totaling 99 yards…Forced two fumbles and blocked one field goal attempt…Also deflected thee passes and tallied 10 quarterback pressures…Added two kickoff returns for 32 yards.
All-Big 10 Conference honorable mention choice by the league's media and coaches…One of five recipients of Iowa's "Coaches Appreciation" Award…Started all 13 games (eight at left defensive end, five at defensive tackle) and ranked 11th on the team with 43 tackles (23 solos)…Placed fourth among Hawkeyes defenders with 3.0 sacks for minus 19 yards and 5.0 stops for losses of 23 yards…Part of a unit that ranks sixth in the NCAA allowing just 101.54 yards per game on the ground…Made 42 stops vs. the ground game, holding those ball carriers to 105 yards (2.5 ypc), as the defender limited those runners to 10 first downs while producing six third-down stops…Took down seven ball carriers at the line of scrimmage for no gain…Made one stop vs. the aerial attack, holding the receiver to one yard on that reception…Deflected two passes and forced one fumble.
All-Big 10 Conference honorable mention choice by the league's coaches…Started all 13 games at defensive tackle and ranked 10th on the team with 54 tackles (18 solos)…Placed third among Hawkeyes defenders with 5.5 sacks for minus 27 yards and fourth with 9.0 stops for losses of 35 yards…Part of a unit that ranked fifth in the conference and 34th nationally, allowing 123.62 yards per game on the ground…Made 52 stops vs. the ground game, holding those ball carriers to 90 yards (1.73 ypc), as the defender limited those runners to six first downs while producing nine third-down stops and two more on fourth-down…Posted 11 total (assists/solos) stops for losses and took down six ball carriers at the line of scrimmage for no gain…Made one stop vs. the aerial attack, holding the receiver to one yard on that reception…Added five quarterback pressures, with three coming on third-down attempts.
Started all 13 games at left defensive end and ranked 11th on the team with 41 tackles (14 solos)… Delivered one sack for minus nine yards and 3.5 stops for losses of 16 yards…Part of unit that ranked ninth nationally, allowing just 94.00 yards per game on the ground…Blocked one kick and forced one fumble…Added one pass deflection and five quarterback pressures.
One of 11 true freshman to see game action…Played in 10 contests and recorded 15 tackles (five solos)…Ranked fourth on the team with 2.5 sacks for minus 23 yards and tied for fifth with 4.0 stops for losses of 25 yards…Part of a unit that ranked third in the Big 10 and 24th nationally, allowing 122.00 yards per game on the ground.
No major injuries reported.
CAMPUS AGILITY TESTS
4.85 in the 40-yard dash.
Attended Lawrence Free State High School (KS), playing football for head coach Bob Lisher…All-State and All-Conference first-team selection as a senior and honorable mention choice as a junior and sophomore…The team captain played tight end and defensive end and concluded his prep career with 50 receptions for 558 yards (11.16 ypc) and six touchdowns…Led the Firebirds to an 11-1 overall record as a senior while registering 23 receptions for 287 yards (12.48 ypc) and five scores…Rated a four-star prospect by Rivals.com, as that recruiting service ranked him as the 10th-best tight end in the nation and the fourth-best recruit in the state of Kansas…Also given a four-star rating by Scout.com, who listed him as the nation's 10th-best defensive end…Also earned two letters in basketball and four in track and field.
Art major…Parents are Denise and Casey Ballard…Born 1/3/89…Resides in Lawrence, Kansas.
The book on: DT/DE Christian Ballard
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