Corey Ballentine arrived at Washburn having completed just two years of football at the high school level thank to his participation on the track team.
No matter, as when he began leaning more toward football, Ballentine started to open a few eyes.
He started six games (out of 12) in 2016, earning honorable mention All-MIAA honors following a 65-tackle season, that also included 6.5 tackles for a loss, two interceptions and five passes defensed.
In addition to his prowess on defense, Ballentine led the Ichabods with ten special teams tackles in 2016. He also served as a return specialist, finishing the 2017 season ranked fifth in Division II with 30.6 yards per kick return average and blocked three kicks.
Unfortunately, his NFL career did not get off to the best start.
Hours after being drafted, he and a friend were the victims of a shooting that injured Ballentine and killed his friend, Dwane Simmons.
The Giants, to their credit, have given Ballentine, who will make a full physical recovery, the time and space he needs to deal with the tragedy.
That has meant not rushing to get him on the field (though he did do some work during the OTAs and spring minicamp).
"I think it is still going to be a little bit of time, but he is getting better," head coach Pat Shurmur said after the first OTA. "This is something that he is going to make a full recovery from; it is just going to take a little time."
Once he's fully recovered physically and mentally, Ballentine presents the Giants with an exciting prospect given his range of skills.
Although he'll come into training camp listed as a cornerback, don't be surprised if he gets a lot of work at free safety as a potential successor to Antoine Bethea.
"I used to play free when I was in high school," Ballentine told reporters after he was drafted.
"I got recruited to Washburn as a corner. When I started playing, I started as a down safety in our defense, so kind of like nickel. I played nickel for two years then I played corner in 2017 and 2018. I’m comfortable playing both positions inside and outside. I don’t have a problem with either."
That versatility should undoubtedly help him as he begins to carve out his NFL niche next month.