What should have been the greatest day of his life ended in tragedy for Corey Ballentine, a Jamaican who just got drafted to play in the National Football League (NFL).
On Saturday, Ballentine who played Division II college football for Washburn University was drafted by the New York Giants in the 6th round of the NFL draft.
Just hours after the draft, Ballentine and a teammate were shot in Topeka, Kansas. Junior defensive back Dwane Simmons, 23, was killed while cornerback Ballentine, also 23, was injured
The Giants said they are aware of the shooting and Ballentine’s injuries are not life-threatening.
“We are aware of the tragic situation and continue to gather information,” the Giants said in a statement. “We have spoken to Corey and he is recovering in the hospital.”
The six-foot, 204-pound Ballentine, was born in Montego Bay, Jamaica but moved to the United States when he was 6-years-old.
Ballentine said it was always his dream to make it to the NFL and even after he only got recruited to a Division II college, he never gave up on his dream of becoming a professional football player.
“This is something I’ve always dreamed of. It took me back to the moment when I got recruited to college and I told my coaches this is something I wanted to do. Now here the moment is. I knew I wanted to do it, and I just didn’t know how. And now the moment’s here and I’m just trying to soak it in really. I’m enjoying the ride already,” Ballentine said.
Topeka police Lt. Andrew Beightel said in a news release that Ballentine’s was doing well after being taken to a hospital by private vehicle.
“Any time we lose a student it is a sad occasion, but it is particularly poignant to lose a student through such a senseless act,″ Washburn President Jerry Farley said in a letter to the Washburn community. “Both Dwane and Corey have been great examples and representatives of the football team and of Washburn University in general.
“This was a terrible way to end a day which should have been a day of celebration and a day to look forward to Dwane’s upcoming year at Washburn and the beginning of Corey’s professional career.″
Topeka police are investigating the shooting.