ELLISVILLE, MS (WDAM) - Jones County wide receiver Harry Ballard was forced to watch every game from the sideline last season, redshirting his freshman year.
But Ballard is back in a Bobcat uniform this season, enjoying every second of action.
"It's a relief, it's a relief," Ballard said. "I caught up on my grades so really I'm just relaxing and playing the best football I can play."
Ballard is playing pretty good football through the first two games. After his three catches on 97 yards in JCJC's 51-10 over Mississippi Delta, Ballard is averaging 113 receiving yards which ranks third in the NJCAA.
And the wideout has a flair for the dramatic. Ballard's nation-leading three touchdown receptions have gone for 48, 51 and 78 yards a piece.
"[Ballard]'s been a big, big plus for us in both games," said JCJC head coach Steve Buckley. "Just very explosive with the ball in his hands. Makes big strong hand catches and knows what to do with it. Gets north and south when he gets the ball in his hands and he's been very successful for us the last two weeks."
A Missouri native, Ballard committed to the University of Missouri out of McCluer North High School. But after not qualifying, Ballard made his way down to Ellisville where he's developed his game at Jones County.
"I did redshirt last year, but I came to every practice," Ballard said. "And I would get together with the quarterbacks and after practice I would still work on my craft and run routes. I went from high school to college, it's going to be a transition. So when I transfer to the University of Missouri, I can have an even better transition. I can just be already into it."
When Ballard transfers to Missouri next season, the Bobcats will surely miss the 6-foot-2, 190-pound receiver's skills. Ballard said he'll miss JCJC just the same, calling it one of the best junior colleges he could have attended.
"Really just the atmosphere of Jones County," Ballard said. "The fans, the students, everybody's pretty nice. I mean, they say the south is nice but I really enjoy my teachers, my coaches are always pushing me my hardest. If I do something wrong they get on me but they always wish the best upon me. I really like the atmosphere around here."