Ball commits to continue career at ETSU

Published 8:09 am Friday, February 9, 2024

STAR CORRESPONDENT

When the Elizabethton Cyclones take the football field in 2024, there will be many offensive coordinators who will be taking a big sigh of relief. The reason for that is that Cyclone defensive end Mason Ball will no longer be wearing the orange and black but will be playing on Saturdays for the East Tennessee State Bucs as Ball made it official when he signed with Coach Tre Lamb and the Bucs inside the Elizabethton Commons Area before family, friends, and teammates.

After hounding opposing offenses for the last four years, Ball hopes to make an immediate impact and earn playing time with the Bucs in Lamb’s first season at the helm. “This means a lot to me to be able to stay at home and get the support of my family and the community,” Ball said before signing his paperwork. “The coaching staff at ETSU has really made a big impact and I’m looking forward to playing for Coach Lamb. I hope to get some early playing time and help make an impact for the program.”

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Ball was a beast on the defensive side of the ball for Coach Shawn Witten’s Cyclones as he recorded over 200 tackles in his four-year career with the Cyclones. Making that tally more impressive was that Ball missed seven games in his junior year after having to sit out with a hand injury before returning for the playoffs in 2022.

Witten recalled Ball’s return when the Cyclones played the Carter Hornets in the playoffs. “We only planned on playing Mason about 25 percent of the snaps that game but by the time the game was over, he was in there over 95 percent of the plays,” said Witten.

Ball was named to the TSWA All-State team his senior season after recording 12 sacks in his final season in which he helped lead the Cyclones to a 10-2 record falling to Anderson County on the road in the playoffs to end the season. Witten said one of the main priorities for Lamb when he was named head coach at ETSU was to recruit the high-energy Cyclone to the Johnson City program.

“Coach Lamb came to the school to check out Mason and also visited with his family,” said Witten. “He made Mason one of his high priorities. High school and college football have really changed over the last few years, and today there are a limited number of scholarship opportunities out there for high school athletes. Today, ETSU will sign only nine high school players and Mason is fortunate to have that opportunity. The sky’s the limit for Mason.”