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June 13, 2013Michigan was one of the first big-time entries into the Kalen Ballage sweepstakes when the Wolverines' coaching staff pulled the trigger back in February. Now, the 6-2, 215-pound athlete prospect is nearly at 20 scholarship offers.
"I have 19 offers," he said. "Iowa and Michigan State are the most recent. Schools are recruiting me on offense or defense, but with Michigan it's offense. They run a pro-style offense. They're known for having a little bit bigger running backs - kind of bruisers - but then speedier guys as well. They told me I kind of fit their criteria as of now."
Ballage returned home from the Rivals Camp Series in Chicago - where he got to try his hand on both sides of the ball - but will head immediately back out to the Midwest to see some of the schools that have shown interest in him. That means Ann Arbor this afternoon, with a few other stops before returning to Falcon.
"I'm going to Michigan, and then Michigan State, and Ohio State," he said. "Then I'm going to Boise State and some other place on the way back, I'm not exactly sure which one that is."
It's a coup for the Michigan coaching staff to get him on campus. Out-of-region prospects sometimes have a tough time making visits halfway across the country during the summer. However, Ballage's interest in the Wolverines is so strong that he made it a priority.
"Everything is kind of cool right now," he explained. "I don't have a busy schedule or anything, so I thought I would go out there and check it out. I'm pretty excited. I talk to almost all of the coaches once a week, just to kind of catch up. They just say they really want me to go up there and check everything out and see what they're about.
"I just want to see everything. There's not one thing in specific that I'm looking for. I don't know much about their school, so I'm going to try to learn as much as I can while I'm there."
Thanks to a recent run of success with the running game in East Lansing, Michigan State is another exciting stop on Ballage's trip.
"I like Michigan State a lot because of their ability to produce big running backs," he explained.
"Le'Veon Bell just went to the NFL to the Pittsburgh Steelers. They've produced a lot of big running backs and a lot of great running backs."
Although the No. 136 player (and No. 6 athlete) in the country is starting to head out to see some of the schools that have offered him, this trip is just the tip of the iceberg. Georgia Tech, Oregon State, and Utah are among his other offers, and he'd like to stop by all of those places before making any cuts.
"Really, I'm going to just keep things open until I get out to see all these schools," Ballage explained. "I don't want to leave anybody out."