FAYETTEVILLE — Atlanta (Ga.) Tri-Cities three-star defensive tackle Cameron Ball has narrowed his schools down to 10 including the University of Arkansas.
Ball, 6-5, 292, narrowed his list down on April 24.
The 10 were, in no particular order, Arkansas, Illinois, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Florida State, Mississippi State, Arizona State, Boston College and Minnesota. On Sunday, he talked about his decision to narrow it to 10 schools.
“Basically, the relationship I have with coaches,” Ball said. “Most of those schools I haven’t visited yet, but I planned on visiting before this whole pandemic happened. So I based off of relationship with coaches and can I see myself playing there for the next three or four years. Does the school have my major and stuff of that nature.”
Ball talked about how much the shutdown of on- and off-campus recruiting due to COVID-19 had hampered him particularly as far as taking visits and seeing the schools. How many schools on that list would you have seen by now?
“I would say all of them because I planned to get around April to go see Alabama, Kentucky and a whole bunch of big-time schools,” Ball said. “It messed it up a lot because I was planning on either making my decision in early June or late July. But now I don’t plan on making a decision because I want to go see the campus for myself. I know the virtual visits and stuff are all cool, but I want to go fall in love myself.”
Ball talked about how he is training and preparing for his senior season since no spring practices were allowed.
“I have a friend of the family who is a trainer and he owns his own facility,” Ball said. “There’s videos on my Twitter of me working out. I mainly workout with him. The days I can’t workout with him I have a weight room downstairs. I’m either lifting in that or running at least three miles around my neighborhood.”
Arkansas has a couple of coaches who have ties to Ball from when they were at the University of Georgia or coaching in high school there. Sam Pittman was the offensive line coach for the Bulldogs and Jimmy Smith was the head coach at Cedar Grove High School before taking a job with Georgia State for a year.
“I knew coach Pittman,” Ball said. “I knew coach Smith and I knew a little bit about coach Fernando (Velasco).
“They are good. They recruited me at the other schools they were at and now that they’re in the process of building a bigger and better program they also want me to join them as well.”
Ball is rated as a defensive lineman by 247Sports and offensive lineman by Rivals. On defense as a junior, Ball had 57 tackles, six sacks, eight quarterback hurries, three forced fumbles and a recovered one. Arkansas has made it clear to him which side of the ball they want him to play.
“Defensive line,” Ball said. “Because in college I plan on playing defensive line.”
He talked about his strengths as a defensive lineman.
“My footwork is great,” Ball said. “I’m very fast for my size. I run a 4.9 in the 40-yard dash. I’m very aggressive. I have great athleticism. The one thing I need to work on is my hands.
“I’m not a perfect player. There’s always room for improvement. That’s another thing about the college who can make me improve me a lot and make me a better player.”
Ball has a simple goal for the 2020 season. His focus is more of a team one than individual goals.
“For the team I want us to go to the playoffs,” Ball said. “If not state then the playoffs because the school I’m at we’re not known for winning. If I can help my senior class get to the playoffs then that will pave the pavement for the juniors, sophomores and freshmen.
“That will set a way for my high school to become a winning school. That’s what I want. It’s not about me. It’s about the school and all of that.”
Ball is obviously a very good leader who focuses on improving his team and helping his teammates. The personal accolades and individual goals are on the backburner for him.
“I’ve started on varsity since the ninth grade,” Ball said. “I played in a few junior varsity games and was a leader on that. I won Offensive Lineman MVP two years in a row. I was a captain this year and last year for my high school. I just put others in front of me. I know people say, ‘I’m just playing for scholarships.’ I’m already set basically. This is about helping my teammates. Those schools I know I’m not gonna go to I can reach out to them about I have a teammate and that type stuff.”
Click here for highlights.