TEMPE, Ariz. -- Kalen Ballage had made up his mind. He was going to sign his National Letter of Intent with Arizona State. All that was left to do was put pen to paper at Falcon (Colorado) High School on National Signing Day in 2014.
Then a snowstorm hit the Colorado Springs area.
"School got cancelled because we had a snow day -- which is usually a good thing -- so that pushed my signing back and gave me more time to think," Ballage said.
The delay extended two additional snow days.
"I'm a spiritual person so I'm asking, 'maybe God doesn’t want me to go to Arizona State?'" Ballage said, laughing. "I'm trying to take care of my business and we keep having snow days."
Ballage tried to remain calm by heeding the advice of every coach he had talked to at every school.
"They told me 'don’t answer your phone. Don't let anybody bug you. Just shut your phone down and relax,'" he said. "I took their advice but then they were all calling me non-stop every day I didn't sign."
When a fourth straight snow day was announced, Ballage had a different thought. Maybe God was just testing his resolve. So he moved the signing to a different site and put an end to the madness.
"That was the longest four days of my life," he said. "Once I got it over with, it was a big relief; a deep breath."
Ballage admits to having second thoughts during those four days, but two things kept him coming back to ASU: the sense of belonging he gained from his official visit and the voice of his heart.
"Everywhere else I visited, it felt like I was being seen as the competition," Ballage said. "It was like, 'I don't know about this guy. What if he takes from my playing time?' That was the vibe I got.
"When I came to ASU it was like 'come join us, come help us, come be a part of this.' It was a totally different vibe and it definitely set them apart."
Safety Jordan Simone was Ballage's host on his official visit, but he also spent time with quarterback Taylor Kelly, running back/receiver D.J. Foster and running backs Marion Grice, Kyle Middlebrooks and Deantre Lewis.
"Mostly, we just went out to dinner and hung out and talked and relaxed," Ballage said. "That's kind of how I am anyway -- what I like to do - so it definitely felt like a family."
As student-athletes across the United States prepare to sign their national letters of intent on Wednesday, Ballage offered a piece of advice.
"Your head will tell you a million different things and so will the people you trust, but if your heart leads you back to one place then I suggest you go there and don't let anything else or anybody else distract you from what you feel," he said. "My signing came four days late, but my heart kept leading me back to ASU."