Sometime this week, Washburn All-America cornerback Corey Ballentine will get the phone call that will change his life.

After wrapping up a banner career for the Ichabods and earning the Cliff Harris Award as the NCAA Division II defensive player of the year, NFL scouts have examined and dissected the former Shawnee Heights standout from head to toe, both mentally and physically.

The 6-foot, 205-pounder was a rare D-II player to earn invitations to the Reese's Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine and is now projected to be an NFL Draft choice who could go as high as the third or fourth round.

The draft starts Thursday night with first-round selections and continues with the second and third round on Friday and fourth through seventh-round picks on Saturday.

"All the interviews I've done with each team and just what I put my body through getting ready for it and gaining the weight I've gained, all that stuff is definitely a long process, but I think it will pay off in the end,'' Ballentine said.

"Right now I'm just working out on my own, just trying to stay in shape and get ready for the mini-camp after the draft. A lot of the teams are calling me, confirming where I'm going to be, what city I'm going to fly out from, my draft day number and if I have any injuries or anything like that since the last time they saw me. That's basically what it is now. They're just kind of putting the finishing touches on everything.''

After playing in the Senior Bowl and participating in the combine, Ballentine feels like NFL teams know everything they could possibly know about him.

"They look at everything,'' he said. "Even when you think people are not paying attention there's probably someone that will report back to (teams) about what you've been doing or what they heard or what not, so you've definitely got to stay on your Ps and Qs. I've just been trying to do my own thing and just play with my pads, going to practice every day and trying to get better.''

"I definitely had a lot of eyes on me and it was definitely a big stage, but I think I did well.''

Ballentine, who had 50 tackles, 3 interceptions and 3 blocked kicks as a senior, thinks he's done all he can do to get ready for this week. Now it's in the hands of the NFL to see where he fits.

"At this point I don't think there's anything more I can do to better my position,'' Ballentine said. "Everyone kind of has an idea of where they want to take me. They've seen my tape, they've seen me in person, talked to me. I don't have any off-field issues, so now it's just up to them to make the decision.

"Right now it's just kind of a waiting game. I don't really have any idea where I'm going to go because they don't really give out that information. This is kind of the hard part because you don't know how to prepare for it, and I don't know where I'll end up the next few days.''

Ballentine, also a former track star both both Shawnee Heights and the Ichabods, plans to take things low key during the draft.

"I might watch the first round of the draft, because I know a couple of guys that I worked out with and trained, and I'd like to see those guys do well,'' he said. "After that I'll probably just be with my family and wait for the call and enjoy the moment. I don't have any big plans.

"I just kind of want to soak it up. This is something I've been wanting to do since I was young, and I've talked to my parents about it for so long, I kind of want to enjoy with them. I think I'll just kind of wait for that call and hope it's somewhere I want to be.''

As soon as he gets his phone call Ballentine will turn his focus on becoming a productive NFL player.

"I feel I have so much more to learn and so much more growing to do,'' Ballentine said. "I feel like I haven't hit my ceiling at all. I feel like the sky's the limit once I get some more tools under my belt. I'm ready to get started and I'm ready to get this process over with and just play football.

"All the interviews and stuff, that was the hard part. Being judged and being on national TV, that was the hard part. Now it's just playing football.''