Signing with Mizzou is all about maturity for Ballard

McCluer North product Harry Ballard made it official on Wednesday, he is headed to Mizzou to play for Barry Odom and the Mizzou Tigers.

Ballard had originally committed to Mizzou out of high school but didn't qualify and had to go to junior college. He enrolled at Jones County Community College and many big time programs came after the receiver, but Ballard wanted to return a favor to Columbia.

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"(The loyalty) means a lot. Their loyalty was beyond unrealistic. At junior college I was highly recruited by all these schools. I always looked back on who gave me a second chance and that was Mizzou," Ballard said, "I thank them, and showed loyalty back."

While qualifying out of high school didn't happen, there is no reason to believe academics will ever be a problem again for the former McCluer North standout. He has learned his lesson.

"I was down there by myself. I had to develop study habits on my own, nobody told me to get up and go to class. I matured off of the field a lot more, making individual decisions that will help me in the long run."

Those decisions turned into a 3.2 GPA at Jones County, which was a goal he thought of each and every day.

"Everyday I would get up and I had a little sign that says "3.0," so I get up and look at that sign and I would (think) I have to do this for myself and my family as well."

While his maturity is helping him achieve his goals, he is also making family history.

"I am the first person on my mom's side to get a degree, so that made me feel a little warm in my heart."

Ballard will enroll at Mizzou in January.