Ball attended the University of California, Los Angeles, where he played defensive end for the UCLA Bruins football team from 2000 to 2003. He was a starter during his final three seasons. In 2003, Ball tied for the national lead with 16.5 quarterback sacks, setting a UCLA record. He also set the UCLA record for most career sacks with 30.5. Ball earned unanimous first-team All-American honors in 2003, and was selected as the ABC-Chevrolet National Defensive Player of the Year, and won the Pop Warner Award as the top senior player on the West Coast. Ball was also a two-time first-team All-Pac-10 selection.