- Jared Shanker, ESPN Staff Writer
For Marcus Ball (Westerville, Ohio/Westerville South), Saturday’s unofficial visit to Michigan State was about killing two birds with one stone.
Both Michigan State and Notre Dame are among the favorites for the three-star athlete and Ohio’s 25th-best player.
“I definitely got a good look at both teams,” said Ball, who is also high on Arizona State and Wisconsin. “I killed two birds with one stone.”
It is not the first time Ball has seen both programs up close and against each other. Ball visited Michigan State two years ago for the game best known for the “Little Giants” fake field goal. He also was at Michigan State last year for its win against Wisconsin.
Ball said the atmosphere Saturday was on par with those two, even though this one ended with a Spartans loss. The Spartans’ fans gave Ball, who was originally planning to officially visit Wisconsin, the red-carpet treatment.
“To see the environment and people constantly going up to you and saying come to Michigan State, it’s a humbling moment,” he said.
A Wisconsin lean with his brother Ray a redshirt freshman on the Badgers’ roster, Ball said Saturday’s game did not help or hurt either Michigan State’s or Notre Dame’s chances to land him.
“Michigan State might not be the team they were last year, but I know Coach [Mark] Dantonio will have those guys ready to fight,” Ball said.
“… For Notre Dame, it’s hard to go in another person’s home with millions of fans screaming. Notre Dame stayed focused.”
Although the Fighting Irish won, Ball said that does not mean the Notre Dame would now be on top of the Spartans on his list. He said it would be unfair to jumble his leaderboard based on one game.
“It didn’t hurt any chances of a commitment,” Ball said of Michigan State. “The defense played a good game. As a team, the offense wasn’t rolling, but I’d play defense there. I’ve been there for a camp and seen the defense last night just flowing to the ball. I am convinced Coach Dantonio is a great coach and they’re a great team, just an inexperienced team.”
Ball could not officially visit Wisconsin this past weekend because he has yet to take either the ACT or SAT. He will take the SAT on Oct. 6.
489dTom Luginbill and Craig Haubert