Enters his junior season as one of a host of players competing to replace Vai Taua as the starting running back in the Pistol offense ... After just two seasons, is already Nevada's all-time leader in career kick returns and career kick return yardage as he enters 2011 with 65 for 1,601 yards ... Enters the year fourth in career kick return average at 24.6 ypr ... Named preseason second-team All-WAC by Athlon Sports ... Named preseason third-team All-WAC by Phil Steele ... Named preseason second-team All-WAC by Lindy's.
Appeared in 9 games in 2011...had 39 carries for 704 yards (5.2 yards per carry) with 3 TDs rushing...11 receptions/42 yards and 2 TDs receiving...5 kickoff returns/94 yards (18.8 ave).
Played in 10 regular season games plus the bowl game and showed flashed of brilliance, both as a running back and as a kick returner ... Finished the season with 38 carries for 259 yards and four touchdowns ... Notched a 100-yard game with 101 yards and two touchdowns against Idaho ... Also caught 11 passes for 73 yards and two touchdowns on the year ... Finished the season with 34 kick returns for 833 yards, including a career-best 84-yarder at Hawaii ... Broke Nevada's career record for kick returns and kick return yardage ... Had three total touchdowns, one receiving and two rushing, against Utah State.
Did not start but played extensively in 11 of the Pack's 12 regular season games and in the bowl game against SMU ... Emerged as one of the top kick-returning threats in the WAC with an average around 25 yards per return ... Coming out game as a running back was against UNLV when he ran for 184 yards and five touchdowns against his hometown school ... Finished the regular season with 201 yards on 19 carries ... His 89-yard TD run against UNLV was one of the longest scoring runs in the FBS during the 2009 season and tied for Vai Taua for the longest run by a Nevada player during the season ... Career-long 52-yard kick return came against CSU, when he had 104 total return yards.
A graduate of Desert Pines High School in Las Vegas, Nev. ... Was a three-year letterman in football and also lettered two years in basketball and track ... Was a first-team All-Region selection as a senior and a three-time All-Conference pick ... Rushed for more than 2,000 yards in his high school career ... Rated as the top running back in Nevada and in the Top 25 among running backs nationally by rivals.com.
Born Michael Dewayne Ball Jr. on Sept. 10, 1990 in Dallas, Texas ... Son of Beatrice Heathman and Michael Ball Sr. ... Has two brothers, Dominique Heathman (deceased) and Keorris Berry ... Plans to major in communications ... Enjoys playing video games, basketball and working out.
- Mike Ball can light up a room. Heck, he can light up Mackay Stadium. And we're not even talking about his skills as a running back yet. His smile and easy-going nature are his poison ivy, except you don't have to touch him. You only need to be in his presence and you'll catch it. I'm pretty sure he smiles when he sleeps, and when he awakes, he sits up, stretches and says to himself, "Let's see how many folks' day I can brighten today." He's sunshine in sneakers. But there's something in his DNA that just makes you scratch your head. The NFL knows what Mike Ball did wrong. He told them at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis in February. Withholding such information is more costly than coming forth with it. And he knows it will cost him. At just under 5-foot-9 and 213 pounds, Ball is a fringe running back. And getting booted off the Nevada football team as a junior last fall might be the difference between making it or busting out. "I went to the combine and put it all on the table," Ball said Wednesday after taking part in the Wolf Pack's annual pro day, in which former Pack players and pro hopefuls are put through drills by NFL scouts. "I don't think they're comfortable with it. But everything is in the past. I've got to move forward now. ... "Yeah, I think it'll affect me getting drafted because there are a lot of good players out there. I don't get caught up in it. Once I get my foot in the door I'm ready to take somebody's job." - Dan Hinxman, Reno Gazette-Journal
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