February 4, 2007

Ball will sign with UGA and play for two

Earlier in January, UGA commitment Neland Ball lost a very close friend in John Keye. The two were like brothers and they had a big party planned Wednesday to sign with UGA and UK. Keye's passing has left Ball to sign alone. Services have been held and tears have been shed, but Ball says he is excited to sign with Georgia this week.

"The whole community took John's accident very hard," said Ball. "It was very hard for all of us. The cancelled some basketball games, they cancelled school for a day, and it has been tough down here."

"The services went well and everyone has made it through the tough times so far. We all stuck together in Jackson and we have pulled each other through. We have had a lot of support from different people and it has helped a lot."

The Georgia coaches have been there to support Ball through his days of mourning.

"Coach Mark Richt called me as soon as he heard about John and that meant a lot to me," Ball said. "He said he was sorry to hear about John and if I ever needed anyone to talk to about anything, then I could call him. He told me to just keep my head up and to keep doing what I was doing."

"I also talked to Coach Willie Martinez (Ball's recruiting coach) and Coach Jon Fabris (defensive end coach). They have both checked on me to make sure I was doing okay."

"The coaches have been great and they have really made me feel like part of their family. They have called me, sent me text messages, and just made sure I was doing okay. They have been very supportive."

Coach Martinez has been by Jackson a couple times recently to visit with this 6-foot-6, 228-pound rush end.

"He has been the coach visiting the school most of time," Ball said. "He came by last week and talked to me about signing day, basketball season, and we just talked for a while. It went real well. I like Coach Martinez a lot."

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