McDowell High School varsity quarterback Ben Ballew will have the opportunity to further his playing career as the senior has chosen to attend Brevard College in the fall.
Ballew at this time is the only current senior in the football program that has made an official commitment to play at the next level. Ballew said the decision to attend Brevard was pretty straightforward.
“I just want an opportunity to play at the next level and I think Brevard can give me that chance,” he said. “It’s fairly close to home which is something that I like and the coaches that I have talked to, they are some of the nicest people that I have met in this process.”
Ballew also made a visit to Maryville College in Tennessee shortly after the season ended, but the preference of being closer to the region played a role in his decision to join the Tornadoes football program.
Holding a 3.2 GPA, Ballew has yet to choose a path academically but he is looking at the possibility of getting into the teaching profession. He is also considering a path in the college’s Wilderness Leadership and Experimental Education (WLEE) program.
“I have always enjoyed the outdoors growing up, the WLEE program is something that I have in serious consideration but if I don’t go that route I would like to ultimately become a teacher,” Ballew said.
Ballew was a two-year varsity starter for head coach Andy Morgan. The 2016 season was a real adjustment, as the team went from an I-formation offense to the spread. The growing pains that occurred early eventually yielded better results and it showed this past season.
Ballew finished 119-of-205 passing for 1,331 yards and 12 touchdowns with eight interceptions for the 2-9 Titans. It was the second straight 1,000-yard season for Ballew, who became the program’s third-leading passer all-time. In his career, Ballew was 255-of-454 for 2,669 yards and 21 touchdowns. His 235-yard performance in a win over West Caldwell last season is the fifth highest single-game total in school history, and he is third all-time with 13 games of 100 yards or more through the air.
The Tornados dropped to the NCAA Division III ranks this school year and went 4-6 as a member of the USA South Conference. Brevard was not eligible for postseason play due to reclassification but will be for the 2018 season.
Notes: Ballew won’t be the only MHS alum at Brevard. Lady Titans softball player Kat Carroll signed with Brevard last week, and former Titans Divese Carson and Cannon Lamb are members of the Tornadoes’ basketball team…Ballew is the only Titan football player to commit to a college so far, but teammate Cole England will be attending East Tennessee State next school year and will attempt to walk-on as a punter.