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ASU’s Kalen Ballage among CFB’s ‘most freakish athletes’

Arizona State running back Kalen Ballage (7) sheds Utah defensive back Chase Hansen (22) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

After Kalen Ballage ran for eight touchdowns last season in ASU’s win over Texas Tech, there likely wasn’t much doubt that he is a tremendous football player.

Now, Chase Goodbread of NFL.com’s College Football 24/7 has not only recognized Ballage’s ability, he’s calling him one of the 17 “most freakish athletes” in his 17 for ’17 series.

The Sun Devils’ senior should turn plenty of heads at next year’s NFL Scouting Combine. At 6-foot-3 and nearly 230 pounds, he’s recorded a 37-inch vertical jump and a broad jump just a shade under 10 feet. He can squat 513 pounds, and his 20-yard shuttle time (4.03) is more like that of a cornerback than a power rusher.

The Peyton, Colorado native ran for 536 yards and added 469 receiving yards in 12 games last year, his junior season. In 2016, Ballage had the ninth-most all purpose yards in the Pac-12 with 1,408.

And of course, on Sept. 10, 2016, he had that aforementioned eight-touchdown game.

Goodbread added:

Last year against Texas Tech, on a 75-yard touchdown run that was one of his NCAA record-tying eight scores on the day, Arizona State’s GPS technology clocked him at 21.6 mph. He’s also known for having a bone-crushing handshake around the ASU football building.

After ASU went 5-7 last season (2-7 in the Pac-12), the Sun Devils and head coach Todd Graham will likely look to Ballage for another big year, now as a senior.

In the meantime, Ballage is ranked No. 9 among college football’s most freakish athletes. Coming in at No. 1? Clemson defensive lineman Christian Wilkins.

Bruce Feldman of SI.com also put out his annual list of college football’s “freaks,” and he’s got Ballage at No. 14.

A huge back with sprinter speed, the 227-pound Ballage was at his best in his NCAA-record-tying eight-touchdown game against Texas Tech last year. On one of those scores, a 75-yard TD run, Ballage was clocked by Arizona State’s GPS tracking system at 21.6 MPH. This off-season he’s vertical jumped 37 inches and whipped through a 4.03 20-yard shuttle time, which is .15 seconds faster than any running back delivered at the 2017 NFL combine.

Ballage enters his senior season in Tempe with 1,315 rushing yards on 293 carries and 21 touchdowns on the ground. He has added 62 catches for 593 yards and two more scores in the passing game.

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