The House of Sparky staff is handing out its end of season awards. The next honor we’re handing out is awarded to our Offensive Player of the Year.
Our Offensive Player(s) of the Year: junior running back Kalen Ballage and freshman receiver N’Keal Harry
Ballage and Harry split our staff vote for this year’s honor.
For Ballage, his third year in Tempe got off to a flying start which included a record-setting performance against Texas Tech, tying the NCAA single-game record by scoring eight total touchdowns during the win.
Offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey utilized Ballage in ways we hadn’t seen him used before. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound tailback finished the year with a career-high 1,005 total yards from scrimmage, averaging 5.9 yards per play. For the first time in his career, he didn’t miss a game due to injury.
On the ground, Ballage displayed steady improvement as a ball carrier, rushing the ball 126 times for 536 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also demonstrated his ability as a receiver too, hauling in 44 catches for 469 yards and a touchdown (all career-high marks).
Ballage was one of eight players to throw a pass for the Sun Devils this season, completing 3 of 4 attempts for 75 yards. One of his throws resulted in a touchdown during ASU’s road loss against Oregon.
In 2016, Ballage returned 18 kickoffs for 409 yards (22.7 yards per return) and had one punt return on which he lost six yards. He’ll most likely assume full-time returner duties next season following the departures of Tim White and De’Chavon “Gump” Hayes.
Harry’s impact was also crucial to ASU’s offensive success this season.
He made several highlight-reel plays seemingly every week, and it’s apparent he’ll be a star in the near future—that is, if he isn’t already.
The Chandler High (Ariz.) product led the Sun Devils in receptions with 58 catches for 659 yards, breaking the program’s previous true freshman single-season record of 56.
Harry found the end zone seven total times, catching five touchdowns and rushing for two more. He also completed 1 of 2 pass attempts for 46 yards.
Because of their impact and knack for jaw-dropping plays, Harry and Ballage have been named our site’s Co-Offensive Players of the Year.
Check back in to House of Sparky tomorrow to see who will be named our Defensive Player of the Year.