GAINESVILLE, Fla. The simple routine is one he has done over and over in his life. Before leaving town for a break between summer semesters on Friday afternoon, Neiron Ball stepped onto a scale to weigh himself. He registered 230 pounds.
If that sounds rather pedestrian, youre right. Football players give the scale a constant workout during offseason conditioning drills.
But for Ball, a Gators redshirt sophomore linebacker, little has been routine over the past 16 months. That is why climbing to 230 pounds was another milestone moment for the good-natured 19-year-old with a teethy smile and dreadlocked hair.
I feel great, Ball said later. Im in shape. I havent felt this good in a long time. I had a lot of people trying to lift me up.
Ball signed with the Gators out of Jackson (Ga.) High School in 2010 and immediately made an impression, playing in all 13 games as a true freshman, mostly on special teams. Balls future was full of promising possibilities when he walked off the ...