ARIZONA STATE FOOTBALL

McShay: ASU’s Kalen Ballage is the sixth-best NFL Draft prospect at RB

Aug 16, 2017, 7:15 AM | Updated: 11:37 am
(AP Photo/Matt York, File)...
(AP Photo/Matt York, File)
(AP Photo/Matt York, File)

ASU senior running back Kalen Ballage is ready to prove his worth to NFL teams. Arguably, he’s already proved that after scoring 14 rushing touchdowns last season, a total that ranked 26th nationally and second in the Pac-12 Conference.

ESPN’s Todd McShay, as part of his 2018 draft position rankings, released his top 10 running back prospects on Tuesday, just 16 days before the new college football season kicks off.

Arizona State standout running back Kalen Ballage cracked the list at No. 6.

Ballage has a rare blend of size (6-foot-2, 233 pounds) and speed, which makes him a big-play threat every time he touches the ball. He runs too high at times and needs to take better care of the ball (1.9 percent career fumble rate).

Entering his senior season, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Ballage made national headlines last season. On Sept. 10 against Texas Tech in Tempe, the Peyton, Colo., native notched eight total touchdowns (seven rushing, one receiving), which matched the FBS record for total touchdowns in a single game.

In his first three seasons as a Sun Devil, Ballage totaled 1,315 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns in 34 games. Across 293 attempts, Ballage averaged 4.5 yards per carry and 38.7 yards per game.

The former three-star recruit, according to Scout.com, enters his final year in maroon and gold on the Maxwell Award watch list, an honor given to college football’s player of the year.

In order to contend for that award and perhaps to raise his NFL draft stock, Ballage will need to earn the bulk of ASU’s carries. But, with Demario Richard back for his senior season and freshman Eno Benjamin making an impression on head coach Todd Graham, it appears Ballage will have to share the load.

Whether or not Ballage can meet or exceed McShay’s ranking remains to be seen.

Heading into the season, however, he ranks only behind Penn State’s Saquon Barkley, LSU’s Derrius Guice, Alabama’s Bo Scarbrough, Georgia’s Nick Chubb and Iowa’s Akrum Wadley on the draft expert’s list of best running backs who could enter the 2018 NFL Draft.

Arizona State Football

Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels (5) passes to running back Rachaad White (3) during the fi...
Wills Rice

A look at Arizona State football’s transfer portal exodus

Here is a list of the Arizona State players who have hit the transfer portal and where some of them have ended up.
14 hours ago
(AP Photo/Ralph Freso)...
Arizona Sports

Pac-12 changing up championship format for football starting in 2022

The Pac-12 announced Wednesday that the two teams with the highest winning percentage in the conference will battle in the championship game.
3 days ago
Cam Johnson #7 of the Vanderbilt Commodores runs after a reception against the Kentucky Wildcats in...
Arizona Sports

Arizona State lands Vanderbilt WR transfer Cam Johnson

Arizona State continued to add to its roster through the transfer portal, landing a commitment from Vanderbilt receiver Cam Johnson.
14 days ago
Emory Jones #5 of the Florida Gators throws a pass during the first half of a game against the Samf...
Jake Anderson

Florida transfer QB Emory Jones announces commitment to Arizona State

The Arizona State Sun Devils football team added another quarterback to its roster on Thursday in Florida transfer Emory Jones.
16 days ago
Tight end Curtis Hodges #86 of the Arizona State Sun Devils runs with the football against the Colo...
Jake Anderson

ASU tight end Curtis Hodges signs with Washington Commanders as UDFA

Former Arizona State Sun Devils tight end Curtis Hodges signed as an undrafted free agent with the Washington Commanders on Saturday.
21 days ago
Offensive lineman Dohnovan West #61 of the Arizona State Sun Devils celebrates with the Territorial...
Arizona Sports

Arizona State OL Dohnovan West signs with San Francisco 49ers as UDFA

Arizona State Sun Devils interior offensive lineman Dohnovan West signed with the San Francisco 49ers as an undrafted free agent on Saturday.
21 days ago
McShay: ASU’s Kalen Ballage is the sixth-best NFL Draft prospect at RB