2015 NFL DRAFT
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Alan Ball

Height: 6-2 | Weight: 183 | College: Illinois
 
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Overview

Ball lettered twice in football and three times in track at St. Martin DePorres High School. He intercepted 15 passes during his career, including six in the postseason of his senior year. He was a Prep Star and Super Prep All-Region selection and named to the Lansing State Journal "Catch 22" list after he helped lead his team to the 2001 state championship.

Ball was also named a Top-50 defensive back recruit nationally by Rivals.com. In track, he won back-to-back 110-meter hurdles state titles as a junior and senior, and garnered All-State honors in 2002.

After enrolling at Illinois in 2003, Ball was expected to redshirt, but was pressed into action for the final seven games, starting five contests at cornerback. He registered 44 tackles (36 solos) with four pass deflections and a forced fumble, but missed the Michigan and Michigan State clashes with a right shoulder sprain.

As a sophomore, Ball took over strong-side cornerback chores, starting 10 games. He sat out the Northwestern contest with a right ankle sprain, but posted 37 tackles (23 solos) with a pass deflection. He was named the team's Outstanding Defensive Back in 2005, despite starting just the final seven games. He ranked fourth on the team with 55 tackles (45 solos), adding four stops for losses, five pass break-ups and an interception.

In 2006, Ball earned All-Big Ten Conference honorable mention. He finished fifth on the team with a career-high 62 tackles (43 solos), including 3.5 stops for losses. He deflected 12 passes and intercepted another.

In 40 games at Illinois, Ball started 34 times. He registered 198 tackles (147 solos) with 8.5 stops for losses of 20 yards and two pressures. He caused a fumble, intercepted two passes and deflected 22 others.

Analysis

Positives: Has well-defined shoulders and arms, with room on his frame to carry at least another 10 pounds of bulk with no loss in quickness … Plays more of a rolled up corner position than a classic cover spot, making him much more effective in run support … Must be more powerful behind his hits, but is an efficient wrap-up tackler … Instinctive reading and reacting to the play … Smoothly switches off in the zone, anticipating the pass while playing the ball high … Has a good burst coming out of his backpedal and the range to quickly recover … Displays the flexibility and leaping ability to adjust his body to the ball in flight in attempts to deflect the ball … Physical coming up to support vs. the run, reading the play with determination … Plays at a nice, low pad level, which allows him to easily wrap tackle … Shows confidence in his ability and impressive intelligence, as he is rarely caught out of position … Smooth in his backpedal and has a knack for getting his hand on the opponent to quickly disrupt the receiver's routes … Has the long arms needed in press coverage … Dedicated to his craft, putting in the extra work in the weight and film rooms … Has a knack for sticking his nose into the action when supporting vs. the run.

Negatives: Has a smaller than ideal hands, struggling to field the ball cleanly on the interception … Comes out of his pedal cleanly, but there is some stiffness in transition … When he gets high in his backpedal, he shows a slight hesitation with his hip turn coming out of it, but can also plant quickly and has the functional acceleration to recover … Most of his pass deflections are due to concentration lapses during attempts to intercept the ball … Needs to do a better job of timing his leaps, as he can elevate for the ball, but sometimes goes up for it too early … Decent wrap-up tackler, but has marginal strength, preventing him from exploding behind his hits.

Compares To: LEIGH BODDEN-Cleveland … Like Bodden, Ball lacks strength to explode behind his hits and might not be the fastest cornerback around. He lacks timing in his leaps and marginal hands for the interception. He is a good wrap-up tackler and willing in run support. He has good awareness to the ball in flight and knows how to use his hands in attempts to reroute. He might be a better fit at nickel back that cornerback, but can also provide value on special teams.

Career Notes

Ball's 22 pass deflections rank eighth on the school's career record list … His 12 pass break-ups in 2006 rank fifth on the Illini single-season record chart behind Eugene Wilson (30 in 2001, 16 in 2000 and 14 in 2002) and Christian Morton (26 in 2001).

2006 Season

All-Big Ten Conference honorable mention … Started all twelve games at strong-side cornerback … Led the team and ranked third in the conference with twelve pass break-ups and also intercepted a pass … Ranked fifth on the team with a career-high 62 tackles (43 solos), including 3.5 stops for losses of 9 yards … Also credited with a pair of quarterback pressures … Served as team captain … Named the team's Most Outstanding Defensive Back for the second consecutive year.

2006 Game Analysis

Recorded eight tackles, including seven solo stops in the season finale vs. Northwestern … Had six tackles vs. Purdue … Posted a tackle for loss and a pass broken up vs. Ohio State … Recorded four tackles, including three solos, at Wisconsin … Recorded five tackles, including four solos, and had a career high three PBUs at Penn State … Recorded five tackles, including three solos, against Ohio … Recorded a career-high four PBUs in addition to two tackles ? one solo ? against Indiana … Recorded five tackles, including three solos, at Michigan State … Tied a career high with two TFLs against Iowa … Also had seven tackles, including six solos, and a PBU against the Hawkeyes … Had two PBUs against Syracuse … Also had three tackles, including one solo, against the Orange … Intercepted a pass and recorded seven tackles, including five solos, at Rutgers … Recorded eight tackles, including five solos, against Eastern Illinois … Also had 0.5 TFL vs. the Panthers.

2005 Season

Named the team's Outstanding Defensive Back … Played in all 11 games, starting the final seven at strong-side cornerback … Finished fourth on the team with 55 tackles (45 solos), including four stops for losses of 9 yards … Deflected five passes and intercepted another.

2005 Game Analysis

Had a season-best 10 tackles, including seven solos, against Wisconsin … Also posted two tackles-for-loss that game … Made an acrobatic one-handed interception at Indiana along with seven tackles … Wrapped up the season with a nine-tackle performance, including a tackle-for-loss, in the season finale against Northwestern … Broke up two passes and had six tackles against Penn State.

2004 Season

Started ten games at left cornerback, sitting out the Northwestern clash with a right ankle sprain … Posted 37 tackles (23 solos) with a stop for a 2-yard loss and a pass deflection.

2004 Game Analysis

Made a season-high eight stops vs. UCLA and Western Michigan … Had five tackles, a TFL and a PBU vs. Michigan … Added four solo stops vs. Iowa.

2003 Season

Played in seven games, starting five contests as a true freshman … Sat out the Michigan and Michigan State clashes with a right shoulder sprain … Finished with 44 tackles (36 solos), four pass deflections and a forced fumble.

2003 Game Analysis

Made a career-high 11 solo stops at Iowa … Had nine tackles and a forced fumble

at Purdue … Added eight tackles vs. Wisconsin and California … Had five tackles and two

PBU's vs. Northwestern.

Injury Report

2003: Did not play vs. Michigan and Michigan State clashes due to a right shoulder sprain.

2004: Missed the Northwestern game with a right ankle sprain.

2006: Suffered a right arm radius bone fracture in April camp.

Agility Tests

Campus: 4.52 in the 40-yard dash … 315-pound bench press … Bench pressed 225 pounds 11 times … 525-pound squat … 285-pound hang clean … 285-pound power clean … 36-inch vertical jump … 10'4" broad jump … 4.18 20-yard shuttle … 6.75 three-cone drill … 31 3/4-inch arm length … 8 1/2-inch hands … Right-handed … Wears contacts.

High School

Attended St. Martin DePorres (Detroit, Mich.) High School, playing football for head coach Greg Carter … Lettered twice in football and three times in track … Intercepted 15 passes during his career, including six in the postseason of his senior year … Prep Star and Super Prep All-Region selection and named to the Lansing State Journal "Catch 22" list after he helped lead his team to the 2001 state championship … Also named a Top-50 defensive back recruit nationally by Rivals.com … In track, he won back-to-back 110-meter hurdles state titles as a junior and senior and garnered All-State honors in 2002 … Four-time Honor Roll student.

Personal

Speech Communications major … Son of Lorenzo and Cheryl Ball … Sister, Tracy, ran track at Southern Methodist and holds the state high school record in the 200 and 400 meters …

Born Alan Sheffield Ball on 3/29/85 in Detroit, Michigan.

 
 
 

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