|Date of birth:January 3, 1989|
|Place of birth: Newport News, Virginia|
|High school: Lawrence Free State|
|NFL Draft: 2011 / Round: 4 / Pick: 106|
|Debuted in 2011 for the Minnesota Vikings|
|Roster status: Reserve/Left squad|
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2012
Christian Ballard (born January 3, 1989) is a former American football defensive tackle. He played college football at Iowa after attending Lawrence Free State High School. He was rated eleventh among defensive end prospects for the 2011 NFL Draft. He was drafted in the fourth round as the number 106 overall pick by the Minnesota Vikings.
High school career
At Lawrence Free State High School Ballard competed in football, basketball as well as track. In football, Ballard was a 2006 Preseason Prep Star All-American, he earned first team All-State and All-Conference awards as a senior after being honorable mention all-conference as a junior and sophomore. Prior to his senior season was listed amongst the Rivals.com Top 100 and ranked the #4 Tight End prospect in the nation by Sports Illustrated.
For his high school career Ballard caught 50 passes for 558 yards and six touchdowns, including 23 receptions for 287 yards and five touchdowns as a senior. He teamed with fellow All-State/All-Conference players Ryan Murphy, Mikel Ruder, Brian Murphy, and Kyle Weinmaster to lead their team to an 11-1 record and an undefeated conference mark as seniors, the teams lone loss was to the Shawnee Mission West Vikings during the state championship playoffs.
Ballard also earned two letters in basketball and four letters in track and field where he earned some notoriety for, despite being 6'4" and 270 pounds he was a member of the school record holding 4x100 realay team that qualified for the state championship meet. Over the course of his track career Ballad had personal bests of 6.80 in the 55m dash (indoor), 22.97 in the 200 meter dash, and ran 2nd leg on a 4x100 team that ran a state best 41.89.
Ballard received scholarship offers from schools such as University of Oklahoma, Florida State University, University of Georgia, UCLA, the University of Kansas and Kansas State University. As a junior he made a verbal commitment to then University of Kansas football Coach Mark Mangino, but continued to receive interest from other schools. After receiving notice via the internet that Ballard took a recruiting trip to the University of Georgia it is rumored that Coach Mangino rescinded the Jayhawks scholarship offer. Soon after Ballard switched his verbal commitment to the University of Iowa.
At the University of Iowa Ballard made an immediate impact by playing as a true freshman and collecting 15 tackles, 4 tackles-for-loss and 2.5 quarterback sacks from the defensive end position. He also returned two kickoffs for 32 yards on special teams that season. As a sophomore Ballard become a starter at defensive end for the Hawkeyes. For the season he tallied 40 tackles, 3.5 tackle-for-loss and 1.5 sacks. Ballard burst onto the national scene as a junior when he played both defensive end and defensive tackle, starting at both positions throughout the season. He teamed with fellow Hawkeye Adrian Clayborn to become one of the most feared defensive lines in the nation. For the season he totaled 54 tackles, 9 tackles-for-loss and 5.5 quarterback sacks. At the end of the season he was named 3rd Team All-Big Ten by Phil Steele College Football Magazine and Honorable Mention All-Big Ten by the Coaches Association. Prior to his senior season Ballard was named First Team All-Big Ten by Sports Illustrated, despite being the source of constant double-team blocks he would go on to gather 43 tackles, 5 tackles for loss and 2.5 quarterback sacks. After the season he again earned Honorable Mention All-Big Ten by the Coaches Association as well as the Associated Press. He also received the Coaches Appreciation Award and earned an invite to the 2011 Under Armour Senior Bowl.
For his career Ballard totaled 152 tackles, 21.5 tackles-for-loss and 12.5 quarterback sacks.
2011 NFL Combine
At the 2011 NFL Combine Ballard, who had received a 1st round grade from NFL Draft pundit Mel Kiper, graded out as one of the most athletic defensive lineman at that year's combine. However, soon after, it was reported that he and another player, Justin Houston of the University of Georgia, had tested positive for marijuana. This caused some teams to red-flag him with the much-feared "character flaw" label. It is said that this is the reason he slipped to the 4th round of the 2011 NFL Draft despite performing very well at the NFL Combine and receiving such high marks from draft analysts such as Kiper and Todd McShay.
Christian has been a part of the Vikings defensive line rotation since being drafted in 2011, he recorded his first NFL sack on Dec 12, 2012 on Sam Bradford in a game against the St. Louis Rams.
Christian Ballard comes from a family of established Detroit musicians which include his great-uncle Hank Ballard of The Midnighters and Hank's cousin Florence Ballard of The Supremes.
- NFL Draft Scout
- Alper, Josh (August 19, 2013). "2011 fourth-round pick Christian Ballard leaves Vikings for personal reasons". NBCSports.com. Retrieved August 21, 2013.
- Career statistics and player information from NFL.com • ESPN • Pro-Football-Reference
- Iowa Hawkeyes bio