Giants sixth-round draft pick Corey Ballentine was shot and injured early Sunday morning in a shooting incident that took the life of a former Washburn University teammate, the school said in a statement. The school said Ballentine, 23, is expected to make a full recovery from the non-life-threatening injuries.
Dwane Simmons, a 23-year-old junior on the Washburn football team, was killed in the incident. He and Ballentine were roommates and started together in the Washburn secondary last season. Police still are investigating the incident and have not revealed the nature of Ballentine’s injuries.
“We are aware of the tragic situation and continue to gather information,” the Giants said. “We have spoke to Corey, and he is recovering in the hospital. Our thoughts are with Dwane Simmons’ family, friends and teammates and the rest of the Washburn community.”
According to WIBW-TV in Topeka, Kansas, police officers responded to reports of gunfire near the Washburn campus at about 12:45 a.m. Sunday and found Simmons, 23, dead. Ballentine was injured and brought to a nearby hospital.
The investigation into the shooting remains ongoing.
Just hours before the shooting, the Giants drafted Ballentine in the sixth round Saturday. He is a cornerback and was the Division II defensive player of the year.
“This is something I have always dreamed of,” he said shortly after the Giants picked him with the 180th selection. “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, I wanted to go to the NFL. We were all kind of giggling and here the moment is, I’m getting the call from the New York Giants. It’s just surreal . . . I’m enjoying the ride already.”
Ballentine grew up in Topeka, although he was born in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and moved to the United States in early grade school. More accomplished in track than football, he was not highly recruited out of Shawnee Heights High School and decided to stay close to home and play for Washburn, a Division II program in Topeka.
Simmons is from Lee’s Summit, Missouri, about an hour’s drive from Topeka. He and Ballentine had been teammates since the 2015 season. He was listed as a junior because he sat out the 2016 season and missed most of 2017 with an injury that resulted in a redshirt season.
Giants draft picks are expected to check in to rookie minicamp Thursday. It is unclear if Ballentine will be out of the hospital by then or when he might be able to travel to New Jersey.