November 27, 2009

Top JUCO RB excited about official visit

Gulf Coast Community College running back Vick Ballard knew his statistics would be better with increased playing time as a sophomore.

But the 5-foot-11, 207-pounder had no idea he would lead the country in rushing for most of the season.

Ballard has rushed 272 times for 1,666 yards and a nation's best 22 touchdowns averaging 154.5 yards a game. His rushing total ranks second nationally trailing Jasmin Hopkins of Fort Scott by 77 yards with one game remaining.

"I didn't really expect to play that well," Ballard said. "I knew that I would do better than I did last year because I'd have more playing time. Last year I didn't start so my playing time was limited. I didn't know how good I was going to do but I didn't think I'd have this many yards."

Ballard and No. 7 Gulf Coast will take on No. 4 Navarro College Dec. 5 in the Zions Bank King of the Mountain Bowl in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Pascagoula, Miss., native committed to Mississippi State in late September after picking up his offer following the LSU game. He gave the Bulldogs his pledge two days later and hopes to be the solution in the backfield losing senior tailbacks Anthony Dixon, Christian Ducre and Arnil Stallworth.

"Them losing three senior running backs played a big part," Ballard said. "With me coming from JUCO, I should be able to get on the field and get some early playing time. I saw it as an open door so I jumped on it."

The three-star prospect will graduate in December and enroll at MSU in January. He will go through spring practice with the Bulldogs which will help him get familiar with the offensive playbook.

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