Last week we ran the first five installments of The
Bucknuts 50 for 2012. This week we’re announcing the Top 5 football
prospects in Ohio. Today we unveil No. 5…
JJHUDDLE’S TOP 200 & POSITIONAL RANKINGS (COMING IN MAY & JUNE)
The annual JJHuddle Top 200 Ohio High School Football Players and positional rankings will be released in June in the 2011 Ohio High School Football Preview.
In May, we will release (over the course of three weeks) extensive
lists of “Players to Watch” at each position. These lists will contain
players that will be included in the Top 200 and many others that will
make headlines in the Fall. Until then, enjoy the Bucknuts Top 50. And
don’t be surprised if the lists differ…
BUCKNUTS TOP 50: No. 5
These rankings were established by Mark Porter of ScoutingOhio.com and Bill Kurelic of Bucknuts.com.
We plan to update the rankings in July as we recap all of the summer
camp and combine developments. Finally, we will update the rankings in
early December after the conclusion of the Ohio high school season.
5. Warren Ball, running back, Columbus DeSales
* The Skinny — Ohio
State did not take a running back in its 2011 recruiting class. That
was due, in part, because of the fact the Buckeyes already had two early
commitments at that position for 2012. That dynamic duo is Columbus
DeSales standout Warren Ball (6-2, 210) and Canton GlenOak’s Brionte Dunn (6-1, 215).
Ball, rated as Ohio’s No. 5 prospect in the Bucknuts 50 survey,
committed to OSU on Sept. 1. Dunn followed suit four weeks later.
As a sophomore in 2009, Ball got off to a big start with DeSales.
But he suffered a groin injury at midseason that limited his ability to
practice and play. He rushed for more than 700 yards and scored eight
touchdowns despite missing four games.
He came back for his junior year and this time it was an ankle
sprain that limited what Ball could do. He ended up with just over 600
yards on 93 carries with 12 touchdowns on the season.
“I had a high ankle sprain that I suffered in Week 3,” Ball said.
“I just think that’s part of football. It’s a physical game and
injuries happen. I’m not going to stress or worry about it. I’m just
going to work hard in the off-season and come back as a better player.
“I don’t see myself as an injury-prone player. I work hard in the
weight room. I am going to get stronger and become more explosive. I
want to work on becoming a complete back.”
In the DeSales offense, Ball has lined up in the slot and also as an I-back.
“With the offense that we run at DeSales, it can be tough at
times to get the carries you need,” he said. “We run a wingback offense
and you typically get some pitches. Ohio State runs the I-formation. I
just have to work hard and see what happens from there.”
When asked how he fits in at Ohio State, Ball said, “I think they
see me as a running back. I’m 6-2, 210 pounds. I think I’m a guy who
can go and get that tough yardage and get the first down. I think they
do see me as a running back.”
Ball had offers on the table from the likes of Cincinnati, Iowa,
Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Tennessee and Wisconsin. But he attended OSU’s
camp last summer, came away with an offer and privately committed to OSU
coach Jim Tressel
in June. He went public with that choice as his season was getting
started in September. Ball wants to study engineering at Ohio State.
“It was a very easy decision,” Ball said. “I grew up with Ohio
State and I fell in love with it at a young age. I grew up watching the
Ohio State-Michigan rivalry on TV. I knew that was the place I wanted to
be if I had the chance.
“Ohio State gives me everything I could possibly want in a
school. I’m blessed to have this opportunity. I really didn’t need to
consider anybody else. I will do everything I can to help my team. I am
looking forward to it and I can’t wait to get down there.”
“I want to play with the best players,” Ball said. “I know
Brionte is just as deserving of the opportunity to play for Ohio State.
We will push each other to be better players. I look forward to getting
to know him as a friend and as a teammate.”
* Mark Porter Comment — “Warren Ball
is blessed with speed and power. Ball also brings a fearless and
passionate approach to his running style. It’s one thing to run hard,
it’s another thing to run angry and Ball seems to run angry. Ball has
all the skills of a great all around running back. He will be a threat
between the tackles and can hurt you on the outside or in the passing
game. Ball can also break the long run after breaking a few tackles. I
have heard Ball runs under 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash and on the
field he looks like he may even play faster than that.
“Not only is Ball a great football player but he brings some very
nice intangibles to the table. He is a great student, a great leader,
great in the community and very humble. On the field, he wears No. 34
and resembles another No. 34 named Walter Payton.”
* Video Link — Click here for video of Ball in action from Scouting.Ohio com.