They also activated defensive end Jonathan Bullard and offensive tackle Jason Spriggs…just in time for the offseason?
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Ballentine Is a Former DII Cornerback
Ballentine’s college background is very intriguing as he played at the Division II level before making his way to the NFL.
He spent his collegiate career playing at Washburn University located in Topeka, Kansas. After almost quitting before his first year even began, Ballentine ended up seeing action in 46 games, primarily playing on defense, where he racked up 186 tackles, four forced fumbles and five interceptions. He also spent time as the team’s kick returner and blocked four field goals.
At the conclusion of his senior year, Ballentine was honored with the Cliff Harris Award, which is given to the nation’s best small college defensive player. In addition, he was named a 2018 second-team AFCA All-American. All of Ballentine’s hard work at the DII level paid off and he earned an invite to the 2019 Reese’s Senior Bowl. NFL scouts quickly took notice of Ballentine’s speed and he was to participate in the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine.
From there, the Jamaica native was selected by the New York Giants in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. However, his off-season was cut short following a shooting accident. He made a full recovery just in time for the season and played in a total of 13 games, primarily on special teams and a few games at the nickel spot.
Ballentine returned to play for the Giants as a starter at outside corner in 2020, but was soon benched and eventually waived. He spent the rest of the season with the Jets before landing on injured reserve.
More recently, Ballentine was picked up by the Detroit Lions where he played in four games for them this past year. In three NFL seasons, he has tallied 33 receptions, 469 yards and five touchdowns allowed over 28 games. Furthermore, as a kick returner, Ballentine has recorded 35 kick returns for an average of 24.4 yards per return.
Ballentine couldn’t be joining the Falcons at a more perfect time as they are in dire need of cornerback depth, with his only competition being second-year corner Avery Williams––for now.
Falcons Sign 17 Other Reserve/Futures Contracts
Ballentine joins 17 other new Falcons members who signed reserve/future contracts this past week.
Here is the full list so far:
DB Cornell Armstrong
OL Willie Beavers
OLB Quinton Bell
LB Jordan Brailford
LB Dorian Etheridge
WR Chad Hansen
RB Caleb Huntley
DB Luther Kirk
P Dom Maggio
OL Ryan Neuzil
DB Lafayette Pitts
TE John Raine
LB Rashad Smith
DE Nick Thurman
WR Austin Trammell
DB DeAundre Alford
WR/TE Brayden Lenius
CB/KR Corey Ballentine
Stay tuned to see who else the Falcons add to the list.