The business of unofficial visits has given Falcon (Co.) athlete Kalen Ballage migraines. For him, hitting the road hasn't been as easy as it sounds.
The four-star prospect holds 16 scholarship offers but has seen very few of his options in person. First, it was his track season holding him back. When that wrapped up, Ballage planned a weeklong tour that was supposed to include tours of Nebraska, Michigan, Michigan State and Boise State.
Just as he set out on the journey, the area around his hometown caught on fire. A feeling of "ok, what's next?" took hold.
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"I was going up to Nebraska first because my sister is there, but we got a phone call that all the fires started happening in Colorado," Ballage said. "We had to come back because they thought we might have to evacuate."
Ballage's family and friends were unharmed in the Colorado wildfires, though the blaze did come within a few miles of the 216-pound prospect's home. Luckily, his biggest losses were the scheduled visits. But with the football season approaching, he won't have time to make them up. Instead, Ballage will flow right into taking officials.
The roadblocks haven't impeded his recruitment too much, though. For the first time, Ballage says he has a list of favorites. They comprise the list of schools he plans to officially visit in the fall.
"Definitely Boise State, Michigan and Michigan State. Probably Nebraska. Then, I have a couple more offers rolling in, so I'm not sure on the other one. Those schools I said I want to visit, Michigan, Michigan State, Boise State and Nebraska are leading my list right now."
Don't confuse the list of favorites and tentative travel plans for a sign that Ballage's recruitment is nearing its close, though. According to him, that's not the case. He says he will wait until after his senior season to settle on a school and that other programs could push their way onto his list of frontrunners.
"I've been talking with Oregon and Auburn a lot," Ballage said. "Auburn is really hot on my tail, so I think it's only a matter of time until they offer."
Ballage plays both running back and linebacker at Falcon but would prefer to play running back in college.
One of the top high school sprinters in Colorado, Ballage runs the 100 and 200 meters at Falcon but does not wish to be a multi-sport athlete at the next level.