In high school, Ballage was a two-time Denver Post All-Colorado selection.
His athleticism, combined with his solid hands and leaping ability, made him a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses in college.
"He said, 'If you can improve from a fourth- or fifth-rounder to a first- or second-round pick, '" the Lions tight end recalled at Big Ten football media day late last summer. Last season he won the Bednarik Award and Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive player and defensive back. He rose up draft boards around the league with a fantastic combine performance which saw him run a 4.54 40-yard dash and put up monster numbers in the vertical jump and broad jump. As a senior, he grabbed 57 passes for 563 yards and nine TDs. The final two seasons of his collegiate career a stark contrast to his freshman and sophomore years when Gesicki registered 24 total receptions and faced more criticism than praise.More news: Alfie Evans, 23-Month Old, Passes Away After Life-Support Removal
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In four years with the Sun Devils, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Ballage had 450 carries for 1,984 yards and 27 rushing touchdowns. He's coming off a record-setting career at Penn State.
Hayden Hurst of SC was the only tight end taken before Gesicki, going to the Ravens with the 25th pick of the first round. "These tall guys - name a good tight end with those types of build that are good blockers at the line of scrimmage?"
More than 6,100 new season tickets have already been sold for the 2018 season presented by PSECU.