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Versatile TE Ballard verbals to TCU

Three-star tight end Gerren Ballard (Whitewright, Texas/Whitewright), at 6-foot-6 and 255 pounds, is something of a freak of nature. Few athletes his size run the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds, which he did at a camp at the University of North Texas over the summer.

Ballard’s athleticism and versatility made him an intriguing college prospect, and Ballard recently chose to continue his football career with one of the newest members of the Big 12. Ballard gave a verbal commitment to TCU, choosing the Horned Frogs over offers from Baylor, Purdue and North Texas.

“It just feels right because it’s not too far from home, and I like TCU,” said Ballard, a three-year letterman who had 40 receptions for 619 yards and 10 touchdowns for a Whitewright team that finished 7-4 this season. "They are going to the Big 12, and my family can see me play."

Recruited by tight ends and special teams coach Dan Sharp, Ballard is expected to play the tight end spot for TCU, even though he played more of a wide receiver at Whitewright. On the Texas Class 2A level, Ballard was dominant in jump-ball situations, and he also showed that he possessed soft hands and could run crisp routes.

Schools such as Texas A&M, Texas Tech, New Mexico and Wake Forest took interest in Ballard, but the opportunity of playing close to home – and in a power conference such as the Big 12 – was too good to pass up.

“Gerren has tremendous upside, and he’s blessed physically,” Whitewright coach Jack Wylie said. “They [TCU] are going to get a tight end who can run with an offensive lineman’s body.

“He’s 6-foot-6 and 255, and we didn’t play him at the tight end position much. He was on the perimeter. He’s certainly fast enough to do that for them, but they’re looking at him to be ready to play tight end.”

Ballard became TCU’s 17th commitment and second of the week, joining three-star linebacker A.J. Hilliard (Spring, Texas/Klein Oak).