NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WIBW) - Washburn's Corey Ballentine continued to make program history at the NFL Draft.
Washburn defensive back Corey Ballentine runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Monday, March 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
The New York Giants took the former Ichabod in the sixth round with the 180th overall pick. That makes Ballentine the highest pick in program history and just the sixth Washburn player to ever be picked in the NFL Draft. He is the first to be drafted since 2008.
"I'm glad to be a part of this franchise," Ballentine said in a phone call with Giants head coach Pat Shurmur, which was posted in a video on the team's website. "I've been waiting on this opportunity for a lifetime, really. I'm glad to be a part of the conversation. I'm definitely ready to start learning and be around the guys and be around you guys."
The speedster also told the team's website that he thinks his versatility will really help him on the field in New York.
“When I started playing, I started as a down safety in our defense, so kind of like nickel,” Ballentine told the Giants' website. “I played nickel for two years then I played corner in 2017 and 2018. I’m comfortable playing both positions inside and outside. I don’t have a problem with either.”
Back in the end of January, the defensive back helped his draft stock and exposure by becoming the first Ichabod to ever participate in the Reese's Senior Bowl. At the NFL combine, the Shawnee Heights alum showed off his speed, running the forty-yard dash in 4.47 seconds.
Thunderbird head coach Jason Swift saw up close what the Giants are going to be getting with Ballentine.
"You got a competitor," Swift said. "You got a high-character guy, a competitor that's worked his tail off from the day he started competing, whether it'd be in track or in football. He's always given his best and I think the New York Giants got a special one in Corey.
"They're getting someone that's been tested. Someone that's probably had doubters, ya know, being at a division two level."
He ended his collegiate career in Topeka with a stellar senior season. The Shawnee Heights alumnus became the first Ichabod to win the Cliff Harris Award as the nation's top small college defensive player from the ranks of NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III and NAIA. Ballentine also earned first-team All-MIAA and second-team All-American honors.