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Monday, January 14, 2013
Ball finds comfort at Arizona State

By Jared Shanker

Westerville (Ohio) South athlete Marcus Ball is looking for a place he’s comfortable at. He thought that was Wisconsin, but then Bret Bielema left for Arkansas.

So now Ball is considering Arizona State and Tennessee, too, and he officially visited the Sun Devils this past weekend.

Ball visited from Saturday through Monday, and Ball sat down with ASU coach Todd Graham the morning before he left. It was Ball’s first time out west, so Graham wanted to make sure Ball was comfortable before even talking about football.

“He asked how I felt being in Arizona being a Midwest guy, so he wants to make sure I’m comfortable,” Ball said. “I did feel comfortable and that’s a big deal.”

The three-star prospect from Central Ohio has a friend from back home at Arizona State, so Ball already has some ties in Arizona. He also said he found out he has some family out West while on the visit too, which would help ease the transition.

Michael Eubank hosted Ball, and the two talked about the opportunity to see the field early. Eubank told him no spot is guaranteed, but the depth chart is open for Ball, who would play free safety at 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds.

“He said there’s nobody in that spot I’m going for,” Ball said. “They need help there. I can be an impact player.”

Receivers coach DelVaughn Alexander will visit with Ball on Thursday, and Graham will make his in-home visit Jan. 22.

Ball committed to Wisconsin in November and was solid to the Badgers until Bielema left for the Arkansas job in early December. His older brother, Ray, is an offensive lineman for Wisconsin, but Ball said he will do what is best for him.

With an official visit to Tennessee coming next weekend, Ball said he remains committed although he is visiting other schools.

“People like to say if you’re committed but going other places you’re not committed,” Ball said, “but right now I’m verbally committed to Wisconsin.”

Gary Andersen and Ball have talked on the phone, and Ball said he believes the new Wisconsin coach is a “man of high character.” He expects Andersen to make an in-home visit this week, and a decommitment would not come before sitting down with Andersen.

Ball's final three are Arizona State, Tennessee and Wisconsin. He also officially visited Illinois and Michigan. Pittsburgh coach Paul Chryst visited Ball's high school Monday, but Ball was not in school, as he was still on his Arizona State visit.