It's not rare that you see a two-sport athlete. But what is rare, is when that two-sport athlete signs to play at the next level. Effingham High School's Kendall Ballman signed his letter of intent to play football and baseball at Knox College in Galesburg, Il.
Ballman is no stranger though to being a multi-sport athlete. He said that does not know if there has been a year that he did not play two or more sports.
"I've played three sports my whole high school career and I've even played five sports at one point in my junior high career," Ballman said. "I'm no stranger to multi-sport athlete situation but in this case I just didn't want to drop one of the sports that I was playing because I like them both a lot so I just decided to do both of them."
Both of his coaches, head football coach Brett Hefner and head baseball coach Chris Fleener said that Ballman playing in both sports can make an impact right away and wont struggle with being a two-sport athlete.
"I think he's got a chance to have a heck of a career there," Hefner said. "I think he's at a college that work well together to allow that to happen so he's not going to be forced to pick one or the other."
"I think he'll do just fine. Kendall's not afraid to take on new challenges and he's not afraid of anything," Fleener said. "That's the thing he's gt going for him. If the game changes, he'll change with it. He'll adapt and he'll do fine. That is going to be a challenge for him but he's one of those high energy kids.
"When he gets to college, he's going to have to figure out the routine. I think he's willing to do all the things it takes to succeed at two sports. It will be tough because college is different than high school but I think it'll be a fun experience for him."
Ballman said that being a two-sport athlete in college is most likely going to be a challenge but said that Knox College can help him through that process.
"They got other multiple dual-sport athletes that are going through the program right now. I think it should be fine," Ballman said.
With having multiple dual-sport athletes, that was a major decision on him signing with Knox College. Knox College is located in Galesburg, IL. Ballman said he like the small town feel which he is used to being in Effingham. He really like the coaches that he talked to. He said he wants to start as freshman in both sports and said that the coaches told him he had a good chance to do that because of his skill set.
His parents, Terri and Mark Ballman, were excited for Kendall.
"You never knew whether it's going to happen and it's fun to see it come to fruition," Terri said.
"It's one of those things where, high schools coming to an end so it hurts there but it's exciting because he's moving on to something else and it's always been his dream to play college athletics and so he's able to do both and I'm extremely proud of him," Mark said.
Ballman was an integral part of the Flaming Hearts' playoff run while earning All-State honors as a safety. He also led the team in rushing with 1,249 yards and 17 touchdowns, eclipsing the century mark in five games. Through the air, Ballman had three receiving touchdowns. In total, he finished with 1,907 all purpose yards.