Arizona State senior running back Kalen Ballage was picked 131th overall by the Miami Dolphins in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, making him the first Sun Devil to come off the board Saturday morning.
He was the twelfth running back to be selected in the draft.
The 6-foot-3, 229-pound back joins Frank Gore, Kenyan Drake, Senorise Perry and Brandon Radcliff as the lone RBs on Miami’s roster. Drake led with Dolphins with 644 yards, averaging 4.8 yards per carry in 2017.
The Dolphins traded 2016 1,000-yard rusher Jay Ajayi to the Philadelphia Eagles in October, which gives Ballage an opportunity to fill a hole and head to South Beach.
Miami picked three players ahead of Ballage: Notre Dame tight end Durham Smythe (123rd), Ohio State linebacker Jerome Baker (73rd), Penn State tight end Mike Gesiki (42nd) and Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (11th).
Ballage impressed in the 2018 NFL Combine, running a 4.46 40-yard dash, ranking third among all running backs. He ran 19.42 mph at the Reese’s Senior Bowl, which was the fastest among all running backs through day two.
The Colorado native ran for 669 yards and six touchdowns in 2017, averaging 4.3 yards per carry, splitting time with fellow senior back Demario Richard who amounted 1,027 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2017.
The powerful running back leaves to the NFL with an FBS record-tying eight touchdown performance against Texas Tech his junior year.
Ballage is the first ASU running back to be picked in the draft since Marion Grice in 2014 who was selected 201st in the sixth round by the San Diego Chargers. Ballage is the highest ASU running back picked since J.R. Redmond, who was selected 76th by the New England Patriots in 2000.