Corey Ballentine
AP Photo/Darron Cummings

New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur praises rookie cornerback Corey Ballentine for how he’s handled himself both on and off the field.

When the New York Giants drafted cornerback Corey Ballentine in the sixth round of this year’s draft out of Washburn University, not many knew who he was. What kind of player is this guy? Does he have a chance to make the team? What can he truly bring to the table?

Well, just a few short months later, Ballentine is competing every single day for Big Blue and has found himself near the top of the depth chart. Janoris Jenkins, DeAndre Baker, and himself seem to be the team’s top three guys for the split wide corner position. This week, head coach Pat Shurmur took the time to praise the talent that Ballentine has shown thus far.

“There are certain positions where you can bring in a guy from a small school,” Shurmur said on Tuesday, per Scott Thompson of SNY. “They have the traits that you’re looking for. He’s a very mature young man. He’s very smart. He gets it. He understands the game and he works very hard. I think you draft the players with the idea that they’re all going to be successful, and be successful quickly, understanding that it’s going to take all of them a little bit of time. We’re pleased with the progress he’s making, for sure.”

The night Ballentine was drafted was initially one of the greatest nights of his life. However, it then shortly turned for the worst. Ballentine was involved in a shooting incident that left him wounded and his best friend, Dwane Simmons, killed.

Ballentine has handled the situation with maturity, however, and is doing what he can to keep his mind right. Shurmur has noticed that.

“I think anytime we have adversity in our life, it becomes part of us,” Shurmur said. “You hate to see somebody go through that, but the way he’s handled it emotionally, mentally, his conversations (around) the building, asking for people to help him…He displayed to us that he’s a very smart, very mature young man. He’s got a great, really a high degree of toughness to him.”

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Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.