Westerville (Ohio) South athlete Marcus Ball made a commitment to Wisconsin just weeks before the Badgers went through a coaching transition. On Sunday, Ball hosted new Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen in his home.
"The head coach, the quarterbacks coach and the running backs coach just left," Ball reported. "I just wanted to get a feel and see who the guy was I was committed to. He impressed me and my family and seems like a good guy. He seems sincere, honest and a man of high integrity.
"[Andersen] reignited that spark there. I definitely had to rethink the whole decision of whether I should go there or should I not. It's not really about the institution because that won't change and I know a lot about Wisconsin. It was more so getting a feel for the people I would be around, and the head coach - seeing what kind of man he is and having him progress me. I think that is something he is high on and definitely sounds sincere about."
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In the aftermath of Wisconsin's coaching transition, Ball had several suitors inquire about his interest in taking official visits. He did travel to Michigan in December and Arizona State earlier this month, and is still considering his options.
"It is pretty much coming down to Wisconsin and Arizona State, weighing the pros and cons and making the best decision," Ball said. "I might make it a hat trick and wait until Signing Day… I'm not sure. Tennessee might get a late official visit. I haven't talked to them in awhile so I'm not sure what's going on there."
Ball took the official visit to Arizona State the weekend of Jan. 11. He had made a previous unofficial visit to their campus, but returned to get a more in-depth look at the program.
"I went by myself to Arizona State and it was a good experience," Ball said. "I got to see a lot more things than just superficial stuff like hot girls and all that. When you think of Arizona State you think of parties, the weather, the climate and geographic stuff, but I got to see a lot more things that are more real to me than that stuff.
"Overall I had a good visit and was highly impressed with the academic advisor. He is a very good man of high character who has achieved a lot over the years at Arizona State."
While in Tempe, Ball was hosted by wide receiver Tevin Favor, who is a Westerville South alum and has known Ball for several years.
"He showed me the balance that I would have between academic and social life," Ball said. "I have family out there too and it is always good to have people you know at a place you might want to go. Some of the guys that are committed are pretty cool guys, and I met the coach and his wife and some of the positional coaches, their wives and their families so that was cool."
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Ball has played all over the field during his high school career, but is expected to line up on defense at either linebacker or safety in college.