Written by: Alex Compton (@alexncompton)
There are now 45 days remaining until the Indiana Hoosiers kick-off the 2016 season in Miami against the Florida International Golden Panthers. Join us each day for each part of our 100-day countdown to the opener! Today is the day to focus on Marcelino Ball, so here we go!
-Weight: 180 pounds
-Hometown: Roswell, Georgia
Every year, a couple guys in every recruiting class that start as “sleepers”, and end up being the best additions to the team. While it will take a few seasons to judge the 2016 Hoosier Army, one guy that I am going to throw in that category of best additions to the team is Marcelino Ball. With a college ready body and the ability to punish ball carriers as an incoming freshman, Ball is ahead of schedule in terms of player development in Tom Allen’s defense. He projects nicely in the run-stopping/ blitzing position in the new 4-2-5 scheme, and he will hopefully begin wreaking havoc on opposing offenses as soon as this fall.
Ball was somewhat of a late bloomer, and this ended up costing him some big-time offers. While he had over 10 including one from West Virginia, he could have had ones from schools including Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, North Carolina and others. If the recruiting process could have started just a few months earlier for Ball, it is not crazy to think that he could have ended up at a football powerhouse. Luckily for Indiana it didn’t, and they were able to pull a very talented prospect from ACC/SEC country.
As mentioned earlier, Ball’s role in the new defensive scheme will likely be as that hybrid pass rusher/ run stopper. He is a really exceptional athlete, and will use his blend of speed and strength to make quick reads and step up in the hole to stop the run. If he shows he can read the offense quickly, he will also be able to be used as a quarterback spy, where he could shade the quarterback and either blitz them or defend the pass. With a bunch of experience returning in the backend of the defense this season, Ball will have his work cut out for him if he wants to play in year one. Additionally, there is a ton of defensive talent joining Ball in Bloomington this season, and they will all be in the mix as well. Whether or not Ball plays this season isn’t important. What is important is that Kevin Wilson and his staff now have the ability to recruit and develop this kind of talent.
Share any memories or expectations you have of Marcelino Ball as a player in the comments section (or on the message boards) and be sure to come back to Hoosier Huddle each day during our countdown!