Each month, I will showcase a current Denver Broncos player and inform you of their lives and accomplishments before coming to Denver. In doing so, I hope to shine a light on each players own unique journey on the road to Mile High. This months featured player is running back Lance Ball.
Lance Ball was born on June 19, 1985 to Lorenzo and Betty Ball in Teaneck, New Jersey. He played high school football at Teaneck High School, where he was a three-year letter winner and a two-year starter. As a junior, Ball rushed for 1,591 yards and 20 rushing touchdowns, earning him first team All-Northern New Jersey, All-League, and All-Country honors. In his senior season, Ball rushed for 1,473 yards and 18 touchdowns and earned All-State, All-League, and All-Country honors. His career rushing totals as a Highwaymen were 3,403 yards and 39 touchdowns.
Coming out of high school, Lance Ball attended the University of Maryland as a member of the Maryland Terrapins. He saw very little action as a Redshirt Freshman, but would be given more responsibilities as a Sophomore. Ball played in 11 games in 2005 and started four, netting 903 yards in 189 attempts with six rushing touchdowns. His 82.7 yards per game average was third best in the Atlantic Coast Conference that year, and his four 100-yard rushing games was a tie for seventh-most in a season in school history. He also recorded 18 receptions for 153 yards, which ranked him sixth in the ACC in all-purpose yards. His stats earned him second team All-ACC honors in 2005 and he was given the school’s Iron Terp Award. As a Junior, Ball played in all 13 games for the Terps, and started in 11. The preseason first team All-ACC selection rushed for 815 yards in 174 attempts and earned eight touchdowns. His 62.7 yards per game average ranked him seventh in the conference and 79th nationally. His eight touchdowns tied him for 19th on the Terps’ all-time single season list. In his Senior year in 2007, Ball played in all 13 games and started the last four. He rushed for 768 yards and a career season high of 12 touchdowns. He tied for ninth in the ACC in rushing with 59.1 yards per game and his 12 rushing touchdowns was tied for eighth most on the Maryland single season list. He was also given the Iron Terp Award for the second time in his career in 2007. In his college career, Ball rushed for a total of 2,487 yards and 26 touchdowns, which is fourth all-time on the school’s career rushing yards list and tied for fourth on the career rushing touchdowns list. His career all-purpose yards of 2,788 yards are 12th best in school history. Ball also played in 41 career games, including every game in his last three seasons.
After his career at Maryland, Lance Ball looked to play professionally in the National Football League. He was not selected in the 2008 NFL Draft, but was signed as an undrafted free agent by the St. Louis Rams to their practice squad on September 1, 2008. He was released from the team only a month later, but was later signed to the practice squad for the Indianapolis Colts. Ball was activated from the Colts’ practice squad on December 28 and made his NFL debut the same day against the Tennessee Titans in the 2008 regular-season finale. His first game was a good one, with Ball rushing for 83 yards on 13 carries. Ball eventually left the Indianapolis Colts and ironically signed on as a practice squad member of the Tennessee Titans, the team he made his NFL debut against. That union was short lived however, and Ball found his way to Denver and was signed to the Broncos’ practice squad on November 3, 2009. After injuries hampered the Broncos’ starting tailbacks, Ball made the move to the Broncos backfield. After playing in 10 games in 2010, Ball racked up 158 rushing yards in 41 attempts.
With questions at the running back spot, Ball brings many attributes to the position for the Broncos. He has good vision for hitting holes in the offensive line and is elusive to defenders. Going into his third NFL season, Lance Ball will look to contribute heavily for the Denver Broncos in 2011.
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