NSA 3-sport star looks to play two sports at Marshall

Published 11:16 pm Friday, December 12, 2008

On Tuesday at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, senior three-sport standout Isaac Ballou signed his letter of intent to play baseball with and attend Marshall University starting in the 2009-2010 school year.

In addition to being an honor student, Ballou has played baseball, basketball and football at the varsity level for the Saints since his freshman season. Even without playing football for two seasons prior to returning to the gridiron this past fall, Ballou earned Player of the Year honors in the Tidewater Conference and is interested in the prospects of playing football for the Thundering Herd.

A lot of national-power level baseball programs, such as Louisiana St., North Carolina St. and Miami (Fla.) were involved in the decision said Ballou. Ballou is primarily the centerfielder for the Saints, although he has pitched for NSA occasionally.

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“My dad pressed me to make the decision that was best for me. That’s not necessarily the decision with all the glitter and gold.

“At Marshall, I think I’ll be able to be an impact player. The coach has told me that I can go 0-for-40 and I’ll still be in the lineup.”

Baseball was certainly the main athletic decision said Ballou, but the possibility of playing football at Marshall is “an added benefit” which might not have been available to Ballou at programs such as LSU, N.C. State and Miami. On the gridiron, Ballou played a host of positions for NSA, wide receiver, running back, safety, kick and punt returner.

Ballou attended a football game in Huntingdon this fall and said “the atmosphere was great,” and “the students were really warm and inviting.” The experience on campus helped finalize his decision.

Among Ballou’s other athletic honors are All-TCIS and All-Virginia Independent Schools honors for the last three baseball and basketball seasons.

Ballou was named as an Under Armour Preseason All American and ranked in the Top 10 in the Class of 2009 Outfielders for his recent baseball season. He was also invited to participate in the USA Baseball’s Tournament of the Stars.

Ballou, along with family and friends, was joined by his NSA coaches, faculty and administration for a special signing ceremony held on Tuesday at NSA.

Marshall’s head baseball coach Jeff Waggoner said in release about Ballou and five other signees for the Thundering Herd, “Ballou is a game changer,” Waggoner said. “He is a throwback to a Tim Raines type player that should be a major contributor as a freshman.”

Marshall was 30-30-1 last season and finished as runner-up in the Conference USA Tournament. Marshall was 4-8 overall and 3-5 in CUSA this past football season.

Even with committing to Marshall, the possibility of being drafted by a Major League Baseball team in the June 2009 MLB Draft is still open. Ballou said he will wait to see what happens with the draft and would consider going pro.