September 17, 2012

Big-Play Marcus Ball visits MSU

Michigan State doesn't have room for many more commitments as part of its 2013 recruiting haul, but the Spartans are still entertaining strong interest in Westerville (Ohio) South DB/LB Marcus Ball.

Ball was originally scheduled to take an official visit to Wisconsin this past weekend but instead took an unofficial visit to Michigan State for the MSU-Notre Dame game. Ball, who camped at MSU this summer, has been to Michigan State more than four times.

Ball told Rivals.com in July that he planned to take five official visits "because I want a game day feel of how the team does things. There's nothing as real as that, so I'll take the five officials all on game days."

Meanwhile, Ball - who has listed Wisconsin, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Arizona State and Penn State as his favorites - is taking in some unofficial gamedays too.

"I think he just wants to take his time," said Westerville South head coach Rocky Pentello. "I know he went to an Ohio State game. He has visited a few. He is taking is time."

As for Friday nights, Ball is creating a strong, methodical stir as well. He had an interception during last week's 28-7 victory over Worthington Kilbourne.

Ball's Westerville South team is 4-0 and ranked No. 4 in Ohio's Division 1, Region 3.

"He had a huge hit in the last game and just blasted some kid in the flat," Pentello said. "He is making his presence felt, that's for sure."

That sounds like a Dantonio type of safety. Or linebacker?

"Marcus is every bit of 6-3 and probably 220," Pentello said.

He's listed at 6-3, 205 in the Rivals.com database, but may have grown since the last combine weigh-in.

"He plays safety for us right now, but his pro position will probably be outside linebacker," Pentello said.

Yes, he said "pro position." Rocky has coached five NFL guys.

"We've had pro players from here, quite a few, and I think he is going to be at the pro level, if there are no injuries and the whole bit," Pentello said. "He is long, real long, and he has a good frame to hold a lot of weight. I think he has the frame where he could hold 260 real easy and have real good speed with it as an outside linebacker some day. He is real athletic and he has a lot of heart."

Ball's brother, Ray Ball, is a redshirt freshman offensive lineman at Wisconsin. Ray is 6-7, 327. Marcus doesn't carry that kind of beef, but he has some of the same mass-building DNA.

"Marcus plays basketball too, so he doesn't get much lifting in, in the winter," Pentello said. "When he does start lifting when basketball is over, he immediately starts gaining weight. If he had a whole year of that, he could get to 260, no problem."

Ball, one of those intriguing Ohio three-star recruits with which Michigan State has had so much success, is ranked the No. 39 player in the state and the No. 51 prospect in the country at the "athlete" position.

Mike Tressel is MSU's primary recruiter of Ball.

"They are just excited about him," Pentello said of MSU. "He's a good athlete, real good character. He gets to the ball well. He is a tough kid. He is a good one.

"With his ability to hold weight, I think everybody is trying to figure out where they are going to project him.

"Michigan State is one of them, one of the schools he is looking at. He's looking at them, Notre Dame, Arizona State, and Wisconsin and some others and he is trying to narrow it down if he can. He's had 25 to 30 offers."

He's also in the process of accumulating some strong senior film. He had a pick six which turned the game around in a 48-21 victory over Clayton Northmont.

"We were in robber coverage, and we guess where they are going to throw. We thought they were going to throw a flat route and they did and he broke down on it and picked it off from his safety spot."

He has three interceptions on the year, including a one-handed number last week.

"He is a roll-down safety for us, rolling into the box and doing a very good job for us," Pentello said.

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