The Ticker

February 6th

Kalen Ballage on his decision: “At the end of the day (Arizona State) is where my heart was at”

From CHSSANow … It was no secret during the 2013 football season that University of Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre wanted Falcon standout Kalen Ballage to be a Buff.

MacIntyre’s eyes would light up at the mention of the designated athlete from just east of Colorado Springs. Thursday, MacIntyre got his answer and is now forced to move on without him.

“I spoke with him today. He really didn’t have much to say,” Ballage said. “He just kind of congratulated me and told me that I should go far in life. I thanked him for that. He’s a really good guy and good coach and I think CU’s going to do good things with or without me.”

…. “I kind of went back and forth for a couple of months but at the end of the day (Arizona State) is where my heart was at,” Ballage said. “I visited a lot of different schools but Arizona State is the place to be.”

Ballage lined up at running back, wide receiver and linebacker for Falcon, making him one of the top versatile players in this year’s class. Listed at 6-foot-2 and 216 pounds, he has the size and the speed to contribute for the Sun Devils right away, which is what he hopes to do.

The plan going into his freshman year is for him to be used primarily as a running back, which will give him plenty of chances to score with ASU’s explosive offense.

“That’s the plan is to come in and play right away,” he said. “I need to stay healthy and work hard and I don’t see I won’t be able to do that. It’s definitely a blessing.”

Although he had plenty of options on the table including CU and UCLA, the further in to the recruiting process he got the more he felt the pull from Arizona State. He cited the connection he made with the players down there as a big reason. He had been receiving text messages from those players as signing day neared, but not to pressure him into making a decision.

It turned out the guys he had grown close to on his visit just wanted to check in on him and talk about things other than football. That attitude resonated with him and when decision time came, it made things much easier for him.

His putting it off a day had more to do with wanting to go through the signing day event with his friends and teammates than the uncertainty of the path he was about to take. And despite social media reports that he was on campus in Boulder, Ballage never had a doubt that he was bound for Tempe.

“I was not in Boulder on Wednesday (laughs),” he said. “Whoever saw that must be seeing things, but it’s been a wild ride and I’m glad it’s coming to an end.”


1:00 p.m. – Okay, it’s apparently over. Arizona State head coach Todd Graham is tweeting his welcome to Kalen Ballage as the newest member of the Arizona State family. Looks like its over …

Reminder … So much fun, we’re going to do it again. Thanks for those of you who listened and called in to the MileHighSports radio show Wednesday night. With so much ground to cover, we’re going to do it again Thursday night, same time, same station. So listen in – and give us a call – 7:00 – 8:00 p.m., Thursday – I will be Don Brenner’s guest on his MileHighSports radio program (93.7 FM; 1510 AM; or stream live here)


Signing Day – February 5th

11:30 a.m. – The Kalen Ballage watch will continue. The Falcon School District is closed today, so, with no school, the announcement of which school Kalen Ballage will attend will have to wait another day. The press conference, scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, will now take place at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Right about the time of the announcement of the postponement, a tweet was posted, showing the CU website with a picture of Kalen Ballage as one of the CU commits. The picture was quickly taken down, but the tweet set off a firestorm of speculation – Did Ballage send in his Letter of Intent, and someone in the CU offices accidently post it early? Did Ballage get word of the leak, and decided to postpone (and perhaps change) his announcement? Could Ballage change his mind if he did in fact send in his Letter of Intent?

Probably, the mistaken posting by CU is a case of much ado about nothing. Surely, the Buffs had a biography of Kalen Ballage ready to go just in case Ballage signed with the Buffs (just as I had a bio of Jay MacIntyre ready to go this morning, in case he chose to become a Buff). The fact that Ballage’s picture was accidently posted for a few minutes should not be read to mean that he has signed with the Buffs, nor should the postponement of the signing ceremony be read as meaning that Ballage has changed his mind about Colorado as a result of the posting.

The reality is that CU fans – like those at Arizona State, UCLA, and Washington – are just going to have to wait another day to see where Kalen Ballage will play this fall.

10:30 a.m. – Jaisen Sanchez, a 6’1″, 185-pound defensive back from Honolulu, becomes the last of CU’s verbal commits to send in his Letter of Intent (and, given the fact that he lives in Hawai’i, he can be forgiven for being last.

10:10 a.m. – Sam Bennion, a 6’5″, 243-pound defensive lineman from Logan, Utah, has sent in his Letter of Intent. Buff fans will have to remember Bennion’s name for the next two years, as will be on a Mormon mission to Chile. He will return more mature (and hopefully in good shape), and will still have four years of eligibility remaining.

10:00 a.m. – The only verbal commits who have yet to send in their Letters of Intent are defensive back Jaisen Sanchez (who has tweeted that his fax is on the way) and defensive lineman Sam Bennion, who is in Mexico (on his way to Chile for a Mormon mission), who may not be near a fax machine right now

9:45 a.m. – Jase Franke, a 6’4″, 255-pound defensive lineman from Ventura, California, is confirmed as a new member of the Buff Nation.

9:35 a.m. – Evan White, a 6’3″, 190-pound defensive back from Aurora, Colorado, has sent in his Letter of Intent.

9:30 a.m. – Shay Fields, a 5’10”, 170-pound wide receiver from Bellflower, California, is now officially a Buff. Fields is rated as a four-star prospect by Rivals, perhaps the highest-rated player of the CU Class of 2014 (unless Kalen Ballage becomes a Buff this afternoon.

9:25 a.m. – Cade Apsay, a 6’2″, 176-pound quarterback from Canyon Country, California, has joined the Buff Nation.

9:20 a.m. – Donovan Lee, a 5’8″, 162-pound “playmaker” (Troy Walters description) from West Hills, California, is officially a Buff.

9:15 a.m. – Josh Kaiser, a 6’5″, 265-pound offensive lineman from Mission Viejo, California, has sent in his Letter of Intent

9:00 a.m. – CU commits who have yet to send in their Letters of Intent include quarterback Cade Apsay, wide receiver Shay Fields, defensive lineman Jase Franke, offensive lineman Josh Kaiser, athlete Donovan Lee, and defensive backs Evan White and Jaisen Sanchez

8:40 a.m. – Sully Wiefels, a 6’4″, 305-pound offensive lineman coming to Colorado from American River Community College, has sent in his LOI just two days after committing to the Buffs. “Sully”, just so you can sound smart to your Buff friends, is short for Sullivan.

8:35 a.m. – Michael Mathewes, a 6’4″, 235-pound defensive lineman from Mission Viejo, California, has joined the Buff Nation.

8:25 a.m. – Hayden Jones, a 6’6″, 235-pound tight end from Sacramento, California, becomes the second California tight end of the morning to become a Buff

8:10 a.m. – Dylan Keeney, a 6’6″, 210-pound tight end from Granite Bay, California, has sent in his Letter of Intent.

8:05 a.m. – Rick Gamboa, a 6’0″, 217-pound linebacker from West Hills, California, becomes the first Pacific Time Zone recruit to fax in his LOI

7:50 a.m. – FIRST SURPRISE OF THE DAY …  Jay MacIntyre, a 5’10”, 178-pound athlete from Louisville, Colorado, becomes the first surprise of the morning, announcing at a Monarch high ceremony that he intends to play for his father at the University of Colorado.

7:45 a.m. – Terran Hasselbach, a 6’1″, 235-pound defensive end from Parker, Colorado, has joined the Buff Nation.

7:40 a.m. – Eddy Lopez, a 6’4″, 300-pound defensive tackle from El Paso, Texas, who won’t turn 18 until July, has sent in his Letter of Intent

7:35 .m. – Christian Shaver, a 6’3″, 235-pound defensive end from Sandy, Utah, is now a Buff

7:30 a.m. – Grant Watanabe, a 5’11”, 225-pound linebacker from San Antonio, the highest-rated (at least according to Scout) incoming Buff, sends in his LOI

7:20 a.m. — Isaac Miller, a 6’7″, 250-pound offensive lineman from Longmont, the first verbal commit of the CU Class of 2014, becomes the first to send in his Letter of Intent


A timeline for Wednesday and Thursday …

– 7:30 a.m. Wednesday – “The Ticker” opens, as signed Letters of Intent start rolling in to CU offices

– 3:00 p.m. – Mike MacIntyre press conference, introducing the CU Class of 2014. Notes and quotes will be posted here at CU at the Game

– 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. – I will be Donald Brenner’s guest on his MileHighSports radio program (93.7 FM; 1510 AM; or stream live here)

– 11:30 a.m., Thursday – Football Preview Luncheon, Denver Marriott City Center. (Registration information here)

– 3:30 p.m. – Kalen Ballage, the No. 1 recruit out of the State of Colorado, announces his choice at Falcon high school. Ballage has narrowed his choices down to four schools: Colorado; Arizona State; UCLA; and Washington.

28 Replies to “The Ticker”

  1. Yo Stuart,
    If it turns out to be true, I’m sort of glad Ballage went to ASU. The whole handling of the final month of recruiting, and especially yesterday and today, stinks to high heaven of a Prima Donna out of Falcon.

    Those types of players, no matter how talented, disrupt team morale because they view themselves as entitled. MacIntyre has worked hard to build a family of guys who are committed to unity. Ballage may very well have been a disruptive influence here in Boulder.

    I certainly could be wrong, and that Ballage is actually the Mother Teresa of this year’s recruiting class nationally. I hope he dedicates himself to his studies and earns a degree. And if he ever finds himself at CU in the future, I hope my assessment is faulty.


  2. So there is a possibility of signing Ballage but if that falls through do we only have the one scholarship left or are we holding some for later use?

    1. Yes, assuming no academic issues, Rippy will be available to play this year. After sitting out his transfer year last fall, Rippy will have two years of eligibility remaining.

  3. Has anyone heard anything on James David? Between Baylor and Colorado last time I checked. Looks like a very solid 4 star linebacker.

    1. According to, he remains a “soft verbal” for Baylor, but has not submitted a LOI.
      Just a guess, but he may not be qualified academically, and so schools are waiting on his status to improve.

  4. Thanks for doing this Stuart. Just landed in LA and your site was the first one I hit. Buff Nation is fortunate to have you. Now if I can just explain why I blew up the smart phone on NLI day……

  5. Don’t hold your breath on Kalen Ballege making an announcement tomorrow. Today is balmy compared to the -11 F high forecast for the next two days (10 degrees colder than today). My guess is that school is out for the rest of the week.

    1. The high today in Bozeman is forecast to be -7, with -21 forecast for tonight.
      People would laugh if anyone suggested closing the schools …

        1. He enrolled in January, and is already a Buff (you can scroll down to the bottom of the “Class of 2014 – Signed LOI” for is bio, along with the other three new January Buffs – Witherspoon, Smith, and Lisella. (Recall that Walker was an Arizona commit, but didn’t qualify. Rather than go through the JC route, he took the semester to qualify, and enrolled at CU in January as a freshman).

  6. So I guess then CU is done for the day and got everyone that basically said they would sign here.
    I looked around and found Sutton signed with SMU , Pio Vatuvei still hasn’t decided. I was still looking at Blackmon JC WR is still open ?

  7. Yo Stuart,

    As always, a great job of covering the young men who are now the newest members of Buff Nation. It’s great that Mac and staff made sure there were no signing day disasters. They stress family and commitment and they got commitments from the newest members of the family.

    We are fortunate that Jay MacIntyre stayed here. The kid is a player, and we know what kind of role model he grew up under. His dad and grandpa were both D-1 head coaches, and gramps has a national coach of the year on his resume. Maybe Jay can help his dad earn one of the those.

    Can’t wait for spring.


  8. I can understand why Sanshez hasn’t turned his in LOI in being its only 7:30am in Hawaii but Walker and Smith haven’t . So far no surprise yet hoping to see a couple.

  9. Other sites report Sanchez, Kaiser and White have signed. Very disappointed that the link to your broadcast did not work.

    1. I don’t report until CU does … and they are the only folks that count.
      The broadcast is tonight. Just google MileHighSports radio for a link.

  10. Jay, Congratulations on becoming a Buff. Caution: I wish you luck because you will be living as a student, an athlete and a member of the community under the microscope as the coach’s son…. and, everything will be magnified… good or bad. It’s a daunting task ahead so I wish you all the luck in the world. Make us proud Jay.

    Can’t make up my mind whether I think all of the hoopla surrounding Ballage is good or bad. I remember Darrel Scott to vividly.

    Go Buffs.

  11. Looking forward to another signing day. I like some of the players better than others (Lopez is probably my favorite commitment), but I think Mac proved he can find diamonds in the rough. I took it as a negative to see that Mac will be holding his press conference a half hour before Ballage even announces. Would love to get him (I think he’d be a great LB), but not that great of a sign.

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