Rookie Rundown: RB Kalen Ballage, Arizona State

Rookie Rundown: RB Kalen Ballage, Arizona State

Rookie Analysis

Rookie Rundown: RB Kalen Ballage, Arizona State

(Joe Camporeale, USA TODAY Sports)

Running back Kalen Ballage came to Arizona State in 2014 as a four-star recruit, scoring four offensive TDs as a true freshman. He would go on to match that figure in 2015 and double it on a single contest the following season.

Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 228 pounds
40 time: 4.46 seconds

Ballage tied the all-time NCAA record with eight offensive touchdowns (seven rushing) against Texas Tech as a junior. He’d finish the season with 15 total scores and a personal-best 44 receptions to showcase an array of useful skills.

Kalen Ballage stats (2014-17)

YEAR
ATT
YDS
AVG
LNG
TD
REC
YDS
AVG
LNG
TD
2014
42
126
3.0
12
3
6
64
10.7
38
1
2015
125
653
5.2
65
4
12
60
5.0
16
0
2016
126
536
4.3
75
14
44
469
10.7
71
1
2017
157
669
4.3
35
6
20
91
4.6
10
0

Not a full-time back at ASU, Ballage should translate well to the current theme of shared backfields in the NFL. He was a contributor in several facets of the game and should have no trouble finding an NFL team looking to manufacture a way to utilize him.

Pros

  • Dual-threat talent with special teams return ability
  • Plus-athleticism for his size
  • Little mileage on his body
  • Short-yardage and goal line prowess
  • Consistently racks up chunk plays
  • Just enough lateral mobility to fit any kind of blocking scheme (best suited for power-blocking)
  • Capable in pass protection

Cons

  • Noticeably poor field vision — one of the first things to jump off the tape
  • Displays indecisiveness when met with fast-closing holes
  • Makes for an easy target to line up in the open field
  • Lacks upper-body strength and tackle-breaking ability for someone of his size — only 15 reps on the bench, and goes down too often with first contact
  • Mostly played from unconventional backfield designs

Fantasy outlook

Ballage is capable of fitting into any offensive scheme, though he is unlikely to assume full-time chores at the next level. Common comparisons focus on Ballage being a poor man’s DeMarco Murray or a Rashad Jennings type, both of which are apt representations of the former Wildcat’s game.

He should find his way onto an NFL roster around the fourth round, and going a round earlier or later is within reason. Given his “jack of all trades” M.O., Ballage could be a consideration for virtually every team.

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