2017 NFL Draft

Montee Ball, RB

School: Wisconsin  |  Conference: BIG10
College Experience: Senior  |  Hometown: Wentzville, MO
Height/Weight: 5-11 / 214 lbs.
Projected Ranking
OverallPositionProj. Rnd.
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03/07/2013 - 2013 Wisconsin Pro Day: Ball, who also ran the short shuttle drill in 4.11 seconds (down from the 4.40 number he mustered at the combine), long shuttle and positional drills, spent time chatting with a number of NFL scouts that made the trip to Madison. He even had an opportunity to talk with Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson, who actually encouraged Ball to run the long shuttle even though the former Badger standout had never previously ran it.

"He just talked to me about all the good stuff I've been doing on tape," Ball said. "He said I know how to play football and that I've been doing all the right things. He's very excited about me. He congratulated me on my career and said I did a good job. "He said I did a great job today and that I showed what I'm capable of doing."

Ball, as the NCAA's all-time leader in total touchdowns, obviously has an impressive highlight film. He is very confident in what he accomplished during his four seasons in Madison and hopes that film, combined with how he has performed both at the combine and UW's pro day, will help him realize his dream of being drafted into the NFL. Even if his name isn't called during the opening round. "I was actually talking to a lot of players about a week or two ago," Ball said. "In college you always want to say you go first round, but once you get here you just want to get drafted. I just hope I get drafted. "I would love to go first round, but honestly I just want to get drafted." - Tom Lea, ESPN Wisconsin

03/07/2013 - 2013 Wisconsin Pro Day: Running back Montee Ball was clocked in the 40-yard dash at 4.46 seconds, a big improvement over his combine time, at Wisconsin's pro day. The two-time All-American and NCAA's career touchdown leader ran a disappointing 4.66 last month at the NFL combine in Indianapolis. ''I knew I was capable of getting under a 4.5,'' Ball said. ''So I'm pretty proud of myself. I had to prove that I can run. ''I think I've shown I'm a complete back with my (game) tape, and also what I'm capable of doing with my feet in the 40, my agility times and ability to catch the football.''

Ball was among a group of former Badgers players who worked out for a large contingent of NFL scouts, coaches and general managers on Wednesday. At least 17 teams were represented at the event, including the Packers, Ravens, Seahawks, Saints and Patriots. Ball's 40 time at the combine ranked 19th out of 33 running backs. He says he was dealing with a sinus infection in Indianapolis that might have slowed him down.

The 2012 Doak Walker Award winner participated in short and long shuttle runs, three-cone drills and catching exercises. He passed on the bench press. ''Really, I had my mind set on the 40, but also, to show (scouts) up close and in person that I can play football,'' Ball said. ''I can go out, hit the cones and I can catch the football.'' - AP Sports

03/07/2013 - 2013 Wisconsin Pro Day: "I think a lot of it plays into it running in Indy," Ball said. "You're a little tired, waking up early and stuff and doctors poking at you and then the last day they want you to go out there and run. It's kind of the process they do, (to see) if you can work under pressure." The pressure Ball faced Wednesday was considerable and after two weeks of working on his first 10 yards of the 40-yard sprint he looked more like the guy who rushed for 5,140 yards and 77 touchdowns in four seasons. Whether it pushed him into the first round is something he'll have to wait and see. "I just hope I get drafted," Ball said after the workout. "I'd love to go first round, but honestly, I just want to be drafted."

In addition to the 40-yard dash, Ball ran the 20- and 60-yard shuttles and caught passes coming out of the backfield. He did not take part in the high jump or the bench press, both of which he did at the combine. He said he improved his short shuttle time from 4.40 at the combine to 4.11. He said he wasn't going to run the long shuttle until Thompson came over and told him it would be a good idea if he did. "Oh, yeah. I was ready to go" after that, Ball said.

Thompson said that the Packers don't put too much stock in the 40-yard dash and that Ball's film is the most important thing. He said what impressed him the most was Ball's determination to improve his time. "We don't get too caught up about the time, but we like the competitiveness and that showed today," Thompson said. - Tom Silverstein, The Journal Sentinel

03/07/2013 - 2013 Wisconsin Pro Day: Wisconsin running back Montee Ball got a second chance and ran with it Wednesday at the Dave McClain Center. In fact, he ran so well that he's hoping he put his dismal performance at the scouting combine last month in the rearview mirror of every NFL scout who attended the Badgers' pro day. Ball, the all-time NCAA record holder for touchdowns and a first-team All-American, looked smooth and swift as he shaved about two-tenths of a second off his plodding 40-yard dash time of 4.66 posted at the scouting combine last month.

Performing in front of about two dozen NFL personnel evaluators, including Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson, Ball ran the 40-yard dash twice. He said he was told he ran the first time in 4.46 seconds and the second in 4.53. The time the scouts settled on based on the two runs was somewhere in the high 4.4s to 4.5, which while not blazing isn't 4.66 either. Had the 5-10, 214-pound Ball run in the 4.6s again it would have cast serious doubt about his ability to outrun the defenders he's going to face in the NFL. A clearly relieved Ball said he knew he would run under 4.5 seconds because when he ran in Indianapolis he was suffering from a sinus infection and taking medicine. - Tom Silverstein, The Journal Sentinel

03/07/2013 - 2013 Wisconsin Pro Day: Wisconsin running back Montee Ball said a sinus infection contributed to his pedestrian 40 time at the NFL Scouting Combine last month, when his 4.66 was 19th out of 33 tailbacks who worked out Feb. 24 at Lucas Oil Stadium. Ball improved his time dramatically at Wednesday's workout, posting times ranging from 4.46 to 4.51 on handheld stopwatches of scouts for 25 teams, including Packers general manager Ted Thompson. Thompson took a moment to visit with Ball. "I knew I was capable of getting under a 4.50, but 4.46? I was very proud of myself," Ball told reporters.

Ball, projected as a third-round pick after his junior season, returned to Wisconsin despite the loss of key offensive linemen - including 2012 second-round pick Peter Konz and first-rounder Kevin Zeitler - and quarterback Russell Wilson to the NFL. He rushed for 1,830 yards as a senior, finished with 83 career touchdowns, an NCAA record, and 5,140 career rushing yards. "Really, what I wanted to show them (is that) my weaknesses, I'm going to keep working on," Ball said. "My weakness has always been top-end speed. Hopefully, I showed today I've been working on that."

Ball said Thompson praised him for the good things he has seen from evaluting Wisconsin's game tape and told him "you know how to play football." The Packers don't know how to run the football, averaging 3.9 yards per carry as a team. Alex Green led Green Bay in rushing with 464 yards but averaged 3.4 yards per carry. Ball said he isn't thinking about being drafted by the Packers, or in the first round, even. "I would love to go first round, but honestly, I just want to get drafted," he said. - Jeff Reynolds, The Sports Xchange

03/07/2013 - 2013 Wisconsin Pro Day: Not satisfied with his draft grade off a pro evaluation during his junior year in 2011, Ball returned for the 2012 season and concluded his Badgers career by breaking the NCAA's career record for touchdowns with 83. He ranks second in program history with 5,140 rushing yards, and his 5.6-yard-per-carry average is third-best at Wisconsin. A highlight of pro day for Ball was getting the opportunity to talk to Packers general manager Ted Thompson, who offered words of encouragement to Ball and other players.

''He talked to me about all the good stuff I did on tape,'' Ball said of his conversation with Thompson. ''He said, 'You know how to play football and you've been doing the right things.' He was very excited about it.''

Ball has been training in Madison with strength and conditioning coach John Dettman and assistant coach and former Badgers player Jamil Walker. He doesn't know if he'll watch the NFL draft with his family or attend festivities in New York when the event begins April 25, but he's eager to see what his pro future will hold. He's been projected as a second- or third-round pick. ''In college you always think about going in the first round,'' he said. ''I would love to go first round, but honestly, I just want to get drafted.'' - AP Sports

03/07/2013 - 2013 Wisconsin Pro Day: The Packers are looking for an all-around running back and the fact Thompson was there with pro personnel director Eliot Wolf may indicate some interest in Ball. Thompson spent a minute or two speaking with the Badgers back during a break in the testing. The scouts put Ball through the same pass-catching workout he conducted at the combine and many of the throws were purposely bad to see how he would handle them. Ball, who averaged 10.1 yards per reception and caught six for touchdowns at Wisconsin, proved sure-handed and received a number of compliments from scouts after the workout. He said he considers himself the most complete back in the draft. "I heard a lot of great things," Ball said. "They were all saying great job on your career, you did a fantastic job. They also, said, good job today. You looked smooth, like a natural." - Tom Silverstein, The Journal Sentinel

03/07/2013 - 2013 Wisconsin Pro Day: Montee Ball was the first player to walk into the McClain Center on the University of Wisconsin campus Wednesday afternoon. He was dressed in a black sweatshirt and matching black sweatpants, both of which sharply contrasted the white ???Beats by Dre' headphones he was bobbing his head to. He looked like a man entirely focused, with redemption squarely planted in his mind. He didn't like the fact he ran a 4.66-second 40-yard dash at last month's combine in Indianapolis and wanted to prove that was a fluke by beating that number during Wisconsin's annual pro timing day. "What people see on TV is only about 25 percent of the entire combine," Ball said. "They make sure to really evaluate you in every way possible. I was sick. I had a sinus infection two days before and I had just gotten medicine for it. "I was coming off that and I was disappointed with (my 40 time). I knew I was faster than that. I ran faster today, much faster than the 4.66 I ran in Indy." Nearly two-tenths of a second faster, to be exact.

Ball, with hopes of silencing any critics that may have thought twice about his ability when he ran a somewhat eye-opening 40-yard dash, approached the line. The first time he sprinted 40 yards he did so in 4.53 seconds, a number not considered blazing by running back standards, but one that was already better than any time he ran during the combine. The second time - a 4.46 effort - was more what he was hoping for. "I was very excited," Ball said. "I was very excited because I knew I was capable of getting under a 4.5. A 4.46? I'm very proud of myself and very happy." - Tom Lea, ESPN Wisconsin

03/07/2013 - 2013 Wisconsin Pro Day: Montee Ball impresses at Wisconsin's pro day...Representatives from 28 NFL teams - including Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson - gathered in Madison for Wisconsin's pro day on March 6, where six players from Wisconsin, one from Minnesota-Duluth and another player from Wisconsin-Platteville worked out. The pro day was held indoors and 40-yard dash times were considered fast due to a special surface installed for the event.

Montee Ball, RB (5-foot-10 3/4, 210 pounds) - Ball ran the 40-yard dash in 4.51 and 4.49 seconds. He had a 4.31-second short shuttle and a 11.26-second 60-yard shuttle. Ball's 40 times were considerably faster than the 4.66 official time he posted at the NFL Scouting Combine, but a fast running surface could be partly responsible for that improvement. Ball - the Football Bowl Subdivision record-holder for most career touchdowns (83) - looked very good in his workout, and could be the second running back off the board in the 2013 NFL Draft. - Gil Brandt, NFL.com

01/16/2013 - The Senior Bowl formally released today the list of Big Ten players coming to the Jan. 26 all-star game in Mobile, and Wisconsin running back Montee Ball was not among them. Senior Bowl officials previously had confirmed each of the nine Big Ten players individually as having accepted invitations to the game. Ball, the NCAA FBS all-time touchdown leader, also had been announced on Dec. 26 as having accepted his invitation to the game.

This evening, a Senior Bowl spokesman said Ball had decided to rest in preparation for the NFL Scouting Combine Feb. 23-26 in Indianapolis, and his father had informed game officials late last week that he would not be coming to Mobile. Fresno State running back Robbie Rouse has been added to the Senior Bowl roster in Ball's place. - Mark Inabinett, Alabama Live

01/01/2013 - PLAYERS TO WATCH: RB Montee Ball hasn't lived up to his potential. At least that was the scouting report on Ball during the first half of his senior season after earning an invite to last year's Heisman Trophy ceremony. Big things were expected from Ball after he rushed for nearly 2,000 yards as a junior. But Ball, like the rest of Wisconsin's offense, struggled early in the season because of a quarterback change and upheaval on the coaching staff and offensive line. Ball, however, has put up solid numbers late in the season to push his season totals close to last year's numbers.

The Badgers have relied on Ball more in the second half of the season to take some pressure off QBs Joel Stave, and, now, Curt Phillips. Ball rushed for 202 yards and scored three touchdowns against Nebraska in the Big Ten title game. Ball, thanks to his late-season push, is back to his old standing as one of the best, if not the, best running back in the country. Stanford's game plan must center on stopping the suddenly hot Ball from having a big game. - The Sports Xchange

12/24/2012 - Two of the three men accused of assaulting Wisconsin running back Montee Ball this summer pleaded guilty to battery charges Wednesday, but both were given a chance to avoid prison. Wendell J. Venerable, 21, and Robert A. Wilks, 22, pleaded guilty to substantial battery, a felony that carries a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison. But instead of imposing a prison sentence, Dane County Judge Rebecca St. John placed them in a first-offenders program.

''This gives you an opportunity to get the support and services you need to avoid coming back into the criminal justice system,'' she told both men, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. The judge didn't detail terms, but such programs generally last about a year and mandate that defendants meet requirements such as going to a class, paying restitution, doing community service and getting needed treatment. If the requirements aren't met, defendants can be re-sentenced.

Venerable and Wilks, both students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, were accused of attacking Ball in August as he walked behind two friends. They allegedly knocked him to the ground and kicked him in the head and chest, leaving him unconscious and with a concussion. A third suspect is scheduled to enter a plea next month. - AP Sports

12/16/2012 - 2012 WALTER CAMP ALL-AMERICA FIRST TEAM: RB Montee Ball, Wisconsin, 5-11 215 Sr., Wentzville, MO...The NCAA's all-time leader in touchdowns with 82 for his career, Ball was named the winner of the Doak Walker Award last week and has been named to five different All-America first teams this season.

Ball ranks in a tie for fourth all-time among Big Ten players with 5,040 career rushing yards and became the 17th player in FBS history to surpass 5,000 yards when he ran for 202 yards and three touchdowns in UW's win over Nebraska in the Big Ten Football Championship Game. - Wisconsin football

12/16/2012 - 2012 AFCA FBS COACHES' ALL-AMERICA TEAM: RB Montee Ball, Sr., Wisconsin...The NCAA's all-time leader in touchdowns with 82 for his career, Ball was named the winner of the Doak Walker Award last week and has been named to five different All-America first teams this season.

Ball ranks in a tie for fourth all-time among Big Ten players with 5,040 career rushing yards and became the 17th player in FBS history to surpass 5,000 yards when he ran for 202 yards and three touchdowns in UW's win over Nebraska in the Big Ten Football Championship Game. - Wisconsin football

12/16/2012 - 2012 AP ALL-AMERICAN FIRST TEAM: Running back - Montee Ball, senior, 5-11, 215, Wisconsin...The NCAA's all-time leader in touchdowns with 82 for his career, Ball was named the winner of the Doak Walker Award last week and has been named to five different All-America first teams this season.

Ball ranks in a tie for fourth all-time among Big Ten players with 5,040 career rushing yards and became the 17th player in FBS history to surpass 5,000 yards when he ran for 202 yards and three touchdowns in UW's win over Nebraska in the Big Ten Football Championship Game. - Wisconsin football

12/16/2012 - 2012 NCAA FBS CONSENSUS ALL-AMERICAN: Running Back - Montee Ball, Wisconsin, 5-11, 215, senior...The NCAA's all-time leader in touchdowns with 82 for his career, Ball was named the winner of the Doak Walker Award last week and has been named to five different All-America first teams this season.

Ball ranks in a tie for fourth all-time among Big Ten players with 5,040 career rushing yards and became the 17th player in FBS history to surpass 5,000 yards when he ran for 202 yards and three touchdowns in UW's win over Nebraska in the Big Ten Football Championship Game. - Wisconsin football

12/07/2012 - 2012 DOAK WALKER AWARD WINNER: Montee Ball, Wisconsin...-- Montee Ball will finish his college career on top of a number of lists in the record books. He'll also finish it on top of the list of the nation's top running backs. The Wisconsin senior was named the best running back in college football Thursday when he was presented with the Doak Walker Award during The Home Depot College Football Awards at Walt Disney World. He also was named to the Walter Camp All-America team for the second-consecutive season.

Ball finished ahead of fellow Doak Walker finalists Kenjon Barner of Oregon and Johnathan Franklin of UCLA for the honor, which has been presented to the nation's most outstanding running back each year since 1989. A finalist for the second-consecutive season, Ball becomes Wisconsin's second Doak Walker Award winner, joining 1999 winner Ron Dayne. He is the sixth Big Ten player to earn the award, and the first since Iowa's Shonn Greene in 2008. Wisconsin has boasted a Doak Walker finalist each of the last three seasons, with John Clay earning a finalist nod in 2010 before Ball's back-to-back nominations.

UW has had eight Doak Walker semifinalists over the past 15 seasons. Ball is the NCAA's all-time leader in touchdowns with 82 and also holds the NCAA career record for rushing touchdowns with 76. He ranks in a tie for fourth all-time among Big Ten players with 5,040 career rushing yards and became the 17th player in FBS history to surpass 5,000 yards. - Wisconsin football

12/05/2012 - 2012 ALL-BIG TEN FIRST TEAM (MEDIA): RB Montee Ball, Wisconsin, has been selected First Team All-Big Ten (Media selection) for the 2012 college football season. Ball became the NCAA's all-time touchdown leader with his 79th career touchdown against Penn State. The senior finished conference play with a league-best 1,168 rushing yards, averaging 146.0 rushing yards per game, and 15 touchdowns. - Wisconsin football

12/05/2012 - 2012 ALL-BIG TEN FIRST TEAM (COACHES): RB Montee Ball, Wisconsin, has been selected First Team All-Big Ten (Coaches selection) for the 2012 college football season. Ball became the NCAA's all-time touchdown leader with his 79th career touchdown against Penn State. The senior finished conference play with a league-best 1,168 rushing yards, averaging 146.0 rushing yards per game, and 15 touchdowns. - Wisconsin football

12/04/2012 - 12/4/12 NFL DRAFT SCOUT RISER: 3. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin...After somewhat of a slow start to his senior season averaging 90.6 yards per game, Ball picked up steam over the final eight games with seven 100-yard games and a pair of 200-yard performances, including against Nebraska Saturday night in the Big Ten Championship Game. He finished with 202 yards against the Huskers' defense and three touchdowns, giving him 1,730 rushing yards and 21 rush scores on the season, falling short of last year's totals (1,980 rush yards and 33 rush touchdowns), but still much better than anyone thought he would finish earlier this year.

Ball runs tougher than he looks and uses his active feet to escape pressure and pick up positive yardage. He loves the cutback (almost too much) and has excellent footwork to plant and go, changing his momentum in a flash and shifting his weight to keep defenders off balance. Ball looks for the big run and he often found it, setting a new career FBS record for touchdowns with 82 (76 rushing, 6 receiving) over his career. He entered the season with lofty expectations after his junior statistics, but Ball did a nice job finishing strong and showing scouts that he still deserves to be mentioned among the top running backs for April's NFL Draft. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com

12/02/2012 - Wisconsin took the ball and ran away with another Big Ten title. Montee Ball ran for 202 yards and three touchdowns and the Badgers scored seven touchdowns on their first nine possessions, blowing out No. 14 Nebraska 70-31 to win their third straight, and most improbable, Big Ten title on Saturday night. Wisconsin will be the first five-loss team to play in the Rose Bowl and is the first school to represent the league in three consecutive Rose Bowls since Michigan in the late 1970s. It was a milestone night for the Badgers.

For the first time in school history, the Badgers had two 200-yard rushers. They finished with the fourth-highest rushing total in school history (539) and tied a conference championship game scoring record. Texas also scored 70 points in the 2005 Big 12 championship game. And it was a fitting end to a wacky Big Ten season. Wisconsin (8-5, 4-4) only reached this year's because Leaders Division champion Ohio State (12-0) and division runner-up Penn State (8-4) were both ineligible for postseason play. The Badgers didn't care. Instead, they took advantage of their good fortune with a night to remember.

Ball broke the Football Bowl Subdivision career rushing touchdowns record. Melvin Gordon opened the scoring with a 56-yard TD run and closed the first half with a 60-yard run to set up another TD, rushing for a career-high 217 yards on nine carries. - AP Sports

12/01/2012 - Wisconsin running back Montee Ball has broken another NCAA record. Ball scored on a 16-yard run in the second quarter against No. 14 Nebraska, diving inside the front pylon to become the Football Bowl Subdivision's career leader for rushing touchdowns (74). Ball and Travis Prentice of Miami (Ohio) had been tied at 73. Ball had rushed 12 times for 100 yards with about 5 minutes to play in the first half. A week earlier Ball broke the tie with Prentice to become the career leader for touchdowns scored in FBS history with 79. He now has 80. If Ball scores another touchdown Saturday, he will tie Prentice's career record for most games with two or more TDs (25). - AP Sports

11/27/2012 - 2012 BIG TEN AMECHE-DAYNE RUNNING BACK OF THE YEAR: Montee Ball, Wisconsin...Ball became the NCAA's all-time touchdown leader with his 79th career touchdown against Penn State on Saturday. The senior finished conference play with a league-best 1,168 rushing yards, averaging 146.0 rushing yards per game, and 15 touchdowns. Ball earned the inaugural award, which is named for former Badgers -- and Heisman Trophy winners -- Alan Ameche and Ron Dayne, after tying the NCAA record with 39 touchdowns in 2011. - Wisconsin football

11/24/2012 - Wisconsin star running back Montee Ball set an NCAA record after scoring his 79th career touchdown on a 17-yard run in the first quarter of Saturday's game against Penn State. The score broke a tie in the record book with Travis Prentice of Miami (Ohio), who had previously set the major college mark in 1999.

Entering Saturday's game, Ball had 72 career rushing scores - including 17 this season - to go with six receiving touchdowns. Ball clutched the football tightly in his right arm while getting pats on the helmet from teammates after the touchdown run gave the Badgers a 14-7 lead at 6:27 of the first quarter. - AP Sports

11/21/2012 - 2012 DOAK WALKER AWARD FINALIST (NATION'S OUTSTANDING RUNNING BACK): Montee Ball (Wisconsin)...Ball is currently sixth in the country among running backs in rushing yards (1,417) and rushing TDs (17). He leads the Big Ten in both categories. He also ranks third among players in BCS conferences in yards after contact with 648. With an unparalleled combination of strength and speed, Ball is also sixth in the country among running backs with 41 runs of at least 10 yards this season.

Ball traditionally has gotten stronger as the season has progressed and this year is no different. His 964 rushing yards and 160.7 rushing yards per game since Oct. 1 are both third-best among RBs in the country. Over the last three seasons, Wisconsin has played 13 games after Nov. 1. Ball is averaging 172.0 rushing yards and has scored 34 touchdowns in those games. The Badgers finish the regular season at Penn State on Saturday then play either Nebraska or Michigan in the Big Ten Football Championship Game. - Wisconsin football

11/20/2012 - Week 12 Rewind: Ball surprised many in returning to Madison after rushing for 1,923 yards and tying the single-season record of 39 touchdowns scored by another Hall of Famer, Barry Sanders. Ball took a significant risk in doing so as the Badgers lost a great deal of talent to the NFL, not the least of which was quarterback Russell Wilson, wide receiver Nick Toon, offensive linemen Kevin Zeiter and Peter Konz and his reliable fullback Bradie Ewing. Ball was given only a third round grade by the NFL Advisory Committee last year, however, and gambled that he could return and boost his stock. He was criticized by many for this decision and yet appears to be well on his way towards being the one laughing last.

The 2012 NFL draft saw three running backs get picked in the first round. The horrific knee injury suffered by South Carolina junior Marcus Lattimore may have eliminated from contention the only running back I've given a first round grade to this year. While North Carolina redshirt sophomore Giovani Bernard has been spectacular, as well, there isn't a running back in the country playing better as the season is winding down than Ball... which is precisely why the senior could wind up as the top player at his position come April. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

11/20/2012 - Week 12 Rewind: Like the former New England Patriots and New York Jets' star, Ball doesn't wow you with his size, power or straight-line speed. It is his combination of the three, along with balance, vision and burst, that kept Ohio State defenders struggling to get a square hit on him all day long. Ball's ability to shift his body just as contacts arrives helps him absorb less punishment than other running backs, bounce off tackles with surprising consistency and seemingly always falling forward for extra hidden yardage. Ball's ability to slide off of contact also helps him protect the football, something that Ball has done extraordinarily well. Though he fumbled in this game, it was just his second in 907 career touches.

Ball is a natural runner, who shows the patience to allow his blocks to develop and an understanding of where cutback lanes are developing, as well as the burst and aggression to seize the opportunity when a hole is there. Furthermore, he's versatile, showing not only soft, reliable hands out of the backfield but increased awareness and physicality this season as a pass blocker. Scouts' concerns about Ball's ability to make an impact on all three downs, in fact, was one of the reasons he elected to play his senior season. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

11/20/2012 - Week 12 Rewind: Ball Fumbles Chance at TD Record But Perhaps Not Top RB Spot...The story was writing itself. Wisconsin running back Montee Ball had tied former Miami of Ohio running back Travis Prentice as the NCAA's all-time career record holder with 78 touchdowns scored in the second quarter of their highly anticipated conference showdown with Ohio State and appeared to be in position to end the Buckeyes' undefeated season and take the record over for himself with just another half-yard. It just wasn't meant to be.

Reaching the ball out in a desperate 4th down attempt to cross the end zone line with just 2:38 remaining, the senior running back had the football knocked free by Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier. While the Badgers would temporarily be re-energized by scoring a touchdown to send the game into overtime, the Buckeyes would go on to win 21-14, handing Ball and his teammates a tough loss on a day in which their reigning Heisman finalist carried the ball a career-high 39 times for 191 yards. The fumble was a cruel end to the day for Ball, who had otherwise enjoyed a spectacular afternoon.

Wearing his familiar No. 28, Ball dipped, ducked and dazzled a talented Buckeye defense. His jersey number is appropriate, for Ball's play was reminscent of another famous No. 28, Hall of Fame running back Curtis Martin. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

11/17/2012 - Wisconsin running back Montee Ball tied the major-college career touchdown record with the 78th of his career Saturday in the Badgers' 21-14 loss to Ohio State in overtime in Madison, Wis. Ball scored on a 7-yard run in the second quarter to equal the mark set by Travis Prentice of Miami (Ohio) in 1999. The senior finished with 191 yards on 39 carries but missed a chance to break the record when he fumbled at the goal line in the fourth quarter. Ball already shares the FBS season touchdown record, matching Barry Sanders' long-standing mark of 39 last year. - The Sports Xchange

11/17/2012 - Five Prospects To Watch in Week 12: The fact that Saturday's opponent -- Ohio State -- has been banned this season from post-season play certainly diminishes the importance of this key divisional rivalry in some respects. The undefeated Buckeyes sit atop the Leaders Division but it will be Wisconsin who will travel to Indianapolis at the end of the year to play in the Big 10 Championship game, regardless of which team wins. Pride, however, is on the line. Ball demonstrated great personal and team pride by electing to return to Wisconsin for his senior campaign.

Against a talented (if not always sound) Ohio State defense that features my No. 3 rated prospect overall in mammoth defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, Ball will need to show more than just pride if the Badgers are going to prove in front of their home crowd that they are the true champions of the division. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

11/17/2012 - Wisconsin running back Montee Ball has tied the major college career touchdown record, scoring on a 7-yard run against No. 6 Ohio State on Saturday. It was the 78th touchdown of Ball's career, matching the mark set by Travis Prentice of Miami (Ohio) in 1999. Ball already has a share of the FBS single-season touchdown record, matching Barry Sanders' long-standing mark of 39 last year. Taking a handoff from Curt Phillips, Ball ran hard up the middle. He cut to the left and banged off Ohio State safety Christian Bryant before tumbling into the end zone and setting off raucous cheers at Camp Randall. Ball's TD cut Wisconsin's deficit in half, leaving the Buckeyes ahead 14-7. - AP Sports

11/17/2012 - Five Prospects To Watch in Week 12: Having rushed for 1,923 yards and a gaudy 33 touchdowns a season ago, most assumed that Wisconsin junior Montee Ball would be playing the 2012 season in the NFL. When he reportedly received a third round grade back from the NFL Advisory Committee, however, Ball elected to return for his senior campaign in an attempt to improve his stock. The decision brought with it plenty of risk, considering the possibility of injury to himself, as well as the losses Wisconsin took in personnel with quarterback Russell Wilson, wide receiver Nick Toon and, perhaps most importantly, interior offensive linemen Kevin Zeitler and Peter Konz and fullback Bradie Ewing all being drafted.

Football minds I trust thought Ball's decision was a mistake. Pessimists certainly looked correct when Ball started the season off slowly, finding little room to run behind a largely inexperienced offensive line that was being taught a new scheme. While some chalked up Ball's slow start to him being overrated a season ago and thus foolish to have returned for his senior campaign, scouts who had traveled through Madison told me the 5-11, 215 pound running back was actually making sounder, quicker decisions this season and that he'd improved as a receiver and pass blocker. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

11/17/2012 - Five Prospects To Watch in Week 12: Since Wisconsin returned to their roots with physical (rather than finesse) run-blocking, Ball has been as productive as any back in the country. After averaging "just" 90 yards over his first four games and scoring three touchdowns over that time, Ball's per game rushing average has skyrocketed over the past six contests (144.3) and he's scored 13 touchdowns. Perhaps most impressive is the fact that Ball's spike in production has come since the Badgers started conference play.

Their first four games were against the likes of Northern Iowa, Oregon State, Utah State and UTEP. Statistics, of course, can be bent to prove just about anything but it doesn't take much manipulating to prove how valuable Ball is to Wisconsin's success. The Badgers are 6-0 when Ball rushes for over 100 yards. They are 0-3 when he doesn't and has had at least 15 carries. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

11/14/2012 - BIG TEN: NFL DRAFT PROSPECT WATCH - WEEK 11: Keep an eye on: RB Montee Ball, 5-11, 212, Wisconsin: Why you should watch him: After floundering at the beginning of the season, Ball has become stronger as the year has worn on. There were a number of extenuating circumstances, such as his recovery from an offseason assault and an offensive line in flux, but Ball seems to have regained the rushing style that made him a Heisman finalist last season. In three of his past four games he's topped 166 yards, and this week, Bielema said: "I've had several scouts comment to me that he'll be the first back to go in this year's draft." Player ranking: Ball is the 95th-ranked player in the draft class and the seventh-best tailback, according to CBSSports.com's player rankings. Up next: Ball has 77 career touchdowns and needs two to set the all-time NCAA record Saturday against Ohio State. He needs one to tie former Miami (Ohio) RB Travis Prentice for the FBS record. - Mike Singer, CBSSports.com

11/14/2012 - Montee Ball is in charge of the entertainment for Wisconsin's senior day. Needing just two touchdowns to become the all-time leader in major college football, the Badgers running back would like nothing more than to get the record Saturday when Wisconsin (7-3, 4-2 Big Ten) hosts unbeaten Ohio State in Ball's final game at Camp Randall Stadium. Ball has 77 career touchdowns after running for three scores against Indiana last weekend. That's two more than 1998 Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams, and one less than current FBS record holder Travis Prentice of Miami (Ohio). - AP Sports

11/12/2012 - When NFL scouts come through the Wisconsin football facilities in search of sharing conversation with head coach Bret Bielema, they usually have nothing but high marks regarding senior tailback Montee Ball. "I've had several guys comment to me this year that they thought he's the first back to go in this year's draft," Bielema said. "Many make the statement without a doubt." Ball, just one touchdown away from tying the all-time career touchdown record, returned for his senior year after leading the nation in rushing (1,923) and total touchdowns (39). He also finished fourth in Heisman voting. The decision to return for his senior year was somewhat surprising, but Ball, at that time, said he might not be ready to leave the college game and he wasn't exactly thrilled with his third round grade from the NFL draft advisory committee. Now, with 1,226 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns, it seems as though Ball made the right decision to return for his final year in Madison. Scouts, at least according to Bielema, tend to agree. "I thought Saturday I saw some of those runs," Bielema, discussing Ball's 198-yard rushing performance at Indiana, said. "But I didn't get as good a view as I did on film. He even had to club a referee on one occasion to get where he needed to be. He pulled that foot out of a tackle. He was just angry. He was out of his mind. It was unbelievable. "Again, there are a lot of good players around him, but I think Montee is going to be very, very happy on draft day." - Tom Lea, ESPN Wisconsin

11/12/2012 - WEEK 11 BIG TEN CO-OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Montee Ball, Wisconsin, Sr., RB, Wentzville, Mo./Timberland...Rushed for 198 yards and three touchdowns against Indiana on Saturday, moving into second place on the NCAA all-time touchdown list with 77...Moved his career rushing touchdown total to 71, which is tied with former Badger Ron Dayne for the most in Big Ten history...Part of a Wisconsin running attack that amassed 564 rushing yards against the Hoosiers, which ranks as the sixth-most in a single game in Big Ten history...Wins the sixth Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honor of his career, which is tied for fourth in conference history, and his second this season. - Big Ten football

11/10/2012 - Montee Ball ran for 198 yards and three touchdowns, James White scored on runs of 69 and 50 yards, and Wisconsin set a school rushing record Saturday with 564 yards in a 62-14 rout at Indiana. The Badgers (7-3, 4-2) will now have a chance to claim their third straight Big Ten crown after clinching a spot in the league's title game. Ball also moved past 1998 Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams and into second place on the FBS career list. He has 77 career TDs, trailing only Travis Prentice of Miami (Ohio) who had 78. Indiana (4-6, 2-4) hasn't beaten the Badgers since 2002 and had its two-game winning streak end. Ball opened the scoring with a 10-yard TD run, and White added a 69-yard TD run late in the half to make it 24-7. Ball had two more TD runs in the third quarter. - AP Sports

11/10/2012 - Wisconsin running back Montee Ball has passed 1998 Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams for second place on the career touchdown list. Ball now has 76 career scores. Williams finished his career at Texas with 75. Travis Prentice of Miami (Ohio) holds the Football Bowl Subdivision record with 78 scores. And the Badgers senior wasted no time getting started Saturday at Indiana. On third-and-2 in the first quarter, Ball rushed 21 yards up the middle and on the next play, turned the corner and jogged in for a 10-yard TD run, No. 75, to give the Badgers a 7-0 lead. He did it again on the opening possession of the Badgers opening possession of the second half, moving into second with a 1-yard plunge to make it 31-7. - AP Sports

10/23/2012 - Montee Ball's name has changed yet again. Before the 2012 season began, the Heisman candidate informed the world that Mon-TEE would be Mon-TAY this season. But according to the Wisconsin back, he's gone back to being Mon-TEE Ball. "The coaches have been calling me Mon-TEE now," Ball told Fox Sports Wisconsin. "They said, ???Mon-TAY is done with. We don't want to see him anymore, and it's back to Mon-TEE.' I'm just going with it now." Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said the change happened during Wisconsin's 38-14 win against Purdue. "I didn't want to go public with that one," Bielema said. "I was riding back on the plane from Purdue [last week], and a couple of my coaches told me that everybody on the sideline was saying, 'Hey, Mon-TAY's gone, but Mon-TEE's back.'" It's a good thing, too, because in his career, Mon-TEE Ball has rushed for 3,723 yards and 60 touchdowns. Mon-TAY Ball rushed for only 569 yards and eight touchdowns in six games. That might be good enough for other running backs, but it pales in comparison to the performances of Mon-TEE Ball. Now if Joel Stave would just change his name to Russell Wilson, this Wisconsin team might be unstoppable. - Tom Fornelli, CBSSports.com

10/23/2012 - University of Wisconsin running back Montee Ball has put together three huge games the past three weeks. Now he's back in the discussion to be a Heisman Trophy finalist, just like he was last year. His coach, Bret Bielema, said people around the country are noticing. "Last week, it was Sports Illustrated or somebody like that had him as the number 7 and last year, he wasn't even that high on the list at the exact same time," said Bielema." I know he's having a Heisman performance because of what I've seen-- and the way I've been around him every day." "But sometimes for the outside world to realize of what's really going on, it's hard for certain people to see it, but it's definitely there," said Bielema. Ball has a chance to impress more voters Saturday, when the Badgers host Michigan State at 2:30 p.m. at Camp Randall Stadium. - WISC Madison

10/17/2012 - Earlier in the week, the Big Ten recognized Wisconsin senior running back Montee Ball for his outstanding performance in the Badgers' win over Purdue. Now he has been honored nationally. Ball was selected as the Maxwell Award Player of the Week after running for a career-high 247 yards and scoring three touchdowns in UW's 38-14 victory in West Lafayette. With his third TD, Ball surpassed former Badger Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne for the Big Ten and school career touchdown record. With 72 career touchdowns, Ball now ranks third in NCAA FBS history, trailing only Ricky Williams of Texas (75) and Travis Prentice of Miami, Ohio (78). Ball has 816 rushing yards this season, good for eighth in the country. His 11 touchdowns are tied for the Big Ten lead and tied for sixth nationally. - Wisconsin football

10/16/2012 - BIG TEN: NFL DRAFT PROSPECT WATCH - WEEK 7: Keep an eye on: RB Montee Ball 5-11, 212, Wisconsin: Why you should watch him: Last Saturday's game against Purdue was the first time that Ball didn't look like a product of a giant offensive line. He engaged contact, showed great vision and was patient on numerous big runs, none of which were more impressive than his 67-yard touchdown scramble early in the third quarter. Ball didn't live up to the early season billing but since conference play has started, the senior has turned it up a notch. In three conferences games, Ball has eight touchdowns and averaged more than 150 yards per game. Season stats: 11 touchdowns, 816 yards rushing, 4.7 ypc. Player ranking: Ball is ranked as the 95th-best player in the class and is rated the seventh-best running back, according to CBSSports.com's player rankings. Up next: Wisconsin hosts Minnesota in the battle for Paul Bunyan's axe on Saturday. In two conferences games against Iowa and Northwestern, the Gophers have given up an average of 190 rushing yards per game. - Mike Singer, CBSSports.com

10/16/2012 - Wisconsin running back Montee Ball may have found his groove again. Ball ran for a career-high 247 yards on 29 carries and three touchdowns in Wisconsin's 38-14 victory over Purdue on Saturday. Ball already has set the record for career touchdowns in the Big Ten with 72, surpassing the 71-touchdown mark held by former Badgers star and 1999 Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne. He is in third place for most career touchdowns in NCAA history, six behind Travis Prentice, who scored 78 touchdowns at Miami (Ohio) from 1996-99. Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema saw little difference in Ball's game preparation, but said Monday that offensive line improvements and Ball's sharp instincts yielded results. Wisconsin (5-2, 2-1 Big Ten) has won two straight and hosts Minnesota (4-2, 0-2) on Saturday. - AP Sports

10/15/2012 - WEEK 7 BIG TEN OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Montee Ball, Wisconsin, Sr., RB, Wentzville, Mo./Timberland...Became the Big Ten's all-time leader in touchdowns and points after finding the end zone three times against Purdue on Saturday...Has 72 touchdowns and 434 points in his career, passing the previous marks of 71 and 426 set by Wisconsin's Ron Dayne...Rushed for a career-high 247 yards, the third 200-yard effort of his career, on 29 carries, including a career-best 67-yard touchdown run in the third quarter...Wins the fifth Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honor of his career and first this season. - Big Ten football

10/13/2012 - Wisconsin running back Montee Ball scored three touchdowns at Purdue on Saturday to pass former Badger Ron Dayne's Big Ten record for career touchdowns. Ball, a senior, scored his 72nd TD in the fourth quarter of Wisconsin's 38-14 win over the Boilermakers. Dayne scored 71 times from 1996 to 1999. Ball had a huge day against Purdue, running for 247 yards on 29 carries. He scored on a 3-yard run in the second quarter, a 67-yard burst in the third and another 3-yard run in the fourth. Ball has 66 touchdowns rushing and six receiving in his career. He is six scores short of the NCAA record, held by former Miami (Ohio) running back Travis Prentice. - The Sports Xchange

10/13/2012 - Montee Ball ran for a career-high 247 yards and scored three touchdowns to help Wisconsin beat Purdue 38-14 on Saturday afternoon. James White added 124 yards rushing for the Badgers (5-2, 2-1 Big Ten), who outgained Purdue 645 yards to 252. The Badgers pounded out 467 yards rushing in the rain. Ball moved past Texas Tech's Taurean Henderson and now is alone in third place in NCAA history with 72 total career touchdowns. Akeem Hunt ran for 85 yards and a touchdown for Purdue. The Boilermakers (3-3, 0-2), who were coming off a 44-13 loss to Michigan, travel to Ohio State next week. The win gives Wisconsin a favorable position in the Big Ten's Leaders Division, especially since Ohio State and Penn State cannot qualify for the conference title game because of NCAA rules violations. There were plenty of empty seats at Ross-Ade Stadium, and that number grew as the rain and Wisconsin's lead increased. - AP Sports

09/25/2012 - Already off to an unsettled start to the season, Wisconsin now must prepare for a trip to Nebraska with running back Montee Ball's status up in the air. Ball left Saturday's game against UTEP with a head injury, and coach Bret Bielema said Monday he was optimistic but not certain that Ball will be able to practice this week as the Badgers (3-1) prepare for their Big Ten opener against the 22nd-ranked Cornhuskers (3-1). Bielema said he was ''not overly concerned'' that Ball would have to sit out this week, even though it's the star running back's second head injury in less than two months. ''Montee will get evaluated, has the possibility of practicing on Tuesday,'' Bielema said. ''We'll see where that goes.'' Bielema said Ball was ''really upbeat'' when the two talked Saturday night. Ball, a Heisman Trophy finalist last season, missed most of camp after he was attacked near campus Aug. 1 and sustained a concussion. Three students have been charged in connection with the incident. Bielema noted that Ball bounced back fairly quickly after the attack, and said his injury didn't appear to be severe on Saturday. ''He wasn't knocked out cold or anything like that,'' Bielema said. Ball had nine carries for 40 yards and a touchdown before leaving. He also lost a fumble, the first of his career. - AP Sports

09/22/2012 - Heisman Trophy finalist Montee Ball has left Wisconsin's game against UTEP with a head injury. Ball appeared to be injured on a 1-yard scoring run at the start of the second quarter Saturday. He looked shaken as he got up, and the Wisconsin medical staff was quick to take him on the sidelines and examine him. A doctor or trainer rubbed Ball's neck at one point, and someone grabbed his helmet as soon as he stood up. An announcement was made that Ball had a head injury and would not be returning. Ball finishes the day with nine carries for 40 yards. He also had the first fumble of his career; he had carried the ball 654 times without turning it over before his miscue on the opening drive. - AP Sports

09/22/2012 - Wisconsin running back Montee Ball sustained a head injury after taking a hard hit on a touchdown run in the second quarter against UTEP. The team tweeted that Ball will not return. Wisconsin led 23-9 at the half. Ball's touchdown gave the Badgers a 9-6 lead with 14:50 left in the second quarter. The Heisman hopeful has scored just three touchdowns this season and lost a fumble for the first time in his collegiate career earlier in the half. He has 655 carries. Ball sustained a concussion this summer when he was attacked by three men near the school's campus. - The Sports Xchange

09/16/2012 - Utah State's Josh Thompson missed a 37-yard field goal with seconds remaining, allowing Wisconsin to hold on for a 16-14 victory Saturday night. Thompson missed the kick wide right, preserving a win for the Badgers (2-1). Trailing 14-3 at halftime, the Badgers got an 82-yard punt return from Kenzel Doe to begin their comeback. Montee Ball shook off a rough night to score the go-ahead touchdown on a 17-yard run late in the third quarter. Ball carried 37 times for 139 yards and the decisive score despite getting stuffed behind an offensive line that has struggled to open holes for him in the first three games of the season. Utah State (2-1) built its first-half lead on a pair of touchdown passes from Chuckie Keeton, who was 18 of 34 for 181 yards. Wisconsin was coming off a loss at Oregon State that led to an abrupt coaching staff shake-up. It was a wild end to a game that started in strange fashion, when the opening kickoff was delayed as a player had to chase a squirrel off the field. - AP Sports

09/11/2012 - The vaunted UW offensive line had trouble opening holes and protecting O'Brien. The Badgers were hurt by the loss of wide receiver Jared Abbrederis in the first half. Abbrederis was taken to a local hospital to be checked for a chest injury. He did not return. Without Abbrederis to stretch the field and help in the return game, the Badgers lost their first regular-season non-conference game since 2003. The seven points scored were the fewest for the Badgers since a 48-7 loss to Penn State in 2008. Bielema said the loss was frustrating on all accounts, while also putting a severe dent in Ball's Heisman Trophy chances. "If I was a guy used to putting up numbers and the numbers weren't coming up, it would be human nature to be (frustrated)," Bielema said. "There weren't any clear looks at the line to get through." Ball's streak of 21 games with at least a touchdown was halted by Oregon State. Ball finished with 61 yards on 15 carries. - The Sports Xchange

09/11/2012 - The defeat to a struggling Pac-12 team, one year after recording a blowout victory over Oregon State, is somewhat shocking and troubling for the Badgers. The UW offense looked awful against the Beavers, who were playing their first game of the season. Wisconsin had just 79 total yards entering the fourth quarter and finished with 206 yards. They didn't convert a third down until the 1:54 mark of the fourth quarter. The Badgers weren't prepared for a hungry Oregon State team that hadn't hosted a Big Ten team in 41 years. "The performance in the first half was unacceptable and that begins with me," UW coach Bret Bielema said. "The best rhythm we had all day was the last two minutes at the end. I thought we were extremely fortunate to only be down 3-0 at the half." Montee Ball was held to 61 yards on 15 carries and no touchdowns. Ball's longest run of the game came on a 15-yarder in the fourth quarter in a passing situation. The Beavers bottled up the Heisman Trophy candidate with an aggressive, swarming defense. The Badgers had only two drives last longer than six plays against Oregon State and never had a time of possession edge in any quarter. "They were actually presenting what we had planned," Ball said. "We just didn't do a great job executing." - The Sports Xchange

09/11/2012 - Top 10 Most surprising stats of the early season: 1: Wisconsin is ranked 103rd in the country in rushing? Huh? And this is after facing an FCS team and a school that just went 3-9. Montee Ball's Heisman hopes already are in the toilet and new Badgers O-line coach Mike Markuson is now a former Badgers O-line coach. Bret Bielema said he thought about the decision on Houston Nutt's long-time line guy on the long flight back to Wisconsin and later deemed it publicly as "personal matters." My hunch is Bielema takes it very personally when his team, with arguably the best running back in college football, is No. 103 in the country in rushing and averaging only 2.9 yards per carry. Maybe Bart Miller, the GA (a Bob Bostad prot??g??) that Bielema just promoted, will provide a spark. - Bruce Feldman, CBSSports.com

09/07/2012 - SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: Junior quarterback Danny O'Brien displayed a good connection with Jared Abbrederis in the opener. O'Brien threw a pair of touchdown passes to Abbrederis. He completed 19-of-23 passes for 219 yards. O'Brien finished his debut in a UW uniform with a pass efficiency mark of 191.3 -- the second-best ever by UW quarterback in his first start. Russell Wilson posted a 292.46 last year in the opener. PLAYERS TO WATCH: RB Montee Ball -- The Heisman Trophy candidate should get a steady stream of carries. Ball finished with 151 all-purpose yards in the opener. - The Sports Xchange

09/01/2012 - Montee Ball rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown, and No. 12 Wisconsin needed a big defensive play to survive a fourth-quarter scare from Northern Iowa in a 26-21 victory Saturday. Wisconsin's defense didn't allow Northern Iowa on its side of the 50-yard line until the 4:27 mark in the third quarter - but then the Badgers nearly melted down. Leading 26-7 in the fourth quarter, Wisconsin allowed Northern Iowa quarterback Sawyer Kollmorgen to throw a pair of long touchdowns to David Johnson, cutting the lead to five. With the Panthers facing fourth-and-1 at the Wisconsin 41-yard line, defensive lineman Ethan Hemer tipped the ball at the line of scrimmage to stop the drive. Kollmorgen threw for 265 yards and three touchdowns for the Panthers, regarded as one of the top FCS teams in the country. New Badgers starting quarterback Danny O'Brien completed 19 of 23 passes for 219 yards and a pair of touchdowns to Jared Abbrederis. - AP Sports

08/13/2012 - Top-five Wisconsin prospects for the 2013 NFL Draft: 2. RB Montee Ball...He has good balance and deceiving run power to slip out of tackles, rarely going down easily. Ball has sharp change-of-direction ability to quickly redirect his momentum and the footwork to sidestep defenders, bursting upfield. He is determined and runs with purpose, but also stays patient, following and allowing blocks to develop. Ball benefited from a mauling offensive line last season that returns only two starters and it will be tough for him to match his stats from a last year. He has been in the news this off-season after a May arrest (trespassing) and incident this past July where he was beat up near his off-campus apartment, suffering a concussion. However, neither event should have much effect on his draft standing. With over 600 touches (so far) on his collegiate r??sum??, Ball has put a lot of tread on his tires and shocked many when he decided to return to school for his senior season. But as long as he stays healthy, he will be one of the highest-rated backs next April and could hear his name in the first few rounds. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com

08/13/2012 - Top-five Wisconsin prospects for the 2013 NFL Draft: 2. RB Montee Ball...One of the top senior running back prospects in the nation, Ball is coming off one of the most productive seasons in college football history, leading the NCAA in rushing (1,923) and yards from scrimmage (2,229). He also tied Barry Sanders' record with 39 touchdowns last year, needing just 18 scores to break the NCAA career mark. A Missouri-native, Ball was a three star running back recruit out of high school, choosing Wisconsin over Missouri, Kansas and Northwestern. He was a back-up his first two seasons in Madison, combining for 1,387 rushing yards as part of a running back committee approach. Showing up in much better physical shape as a junior, Ball became the full-time starter last season (14 starts) and finished with 1,923 yards and 39 total scores, scoring at least two touchdowns in 13 games last year (NCAA record). He set numerous conference and school records and was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, earning First Team All-Big Ten and All-American honors. Ball does a nice job finding the run lanes and attacking the line of scrimmage with good quickness in tight areas, showing the speed to get around the edge. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com

08/12/2012 - Badgers RB Montee Ball addressed reporters Sunday afternoon at Wisconsin media day and made his first public comments about being attacked in the early morning hours of Aug. 1. "I feel blessed to be able to walk away from that; obviously I walked away from that after the hospital but not upset anymore. Perfectly fine, perfectly content, and honestly just ready to forget about it," Ball said. Ball was jumped by five people after leaving a Madison bar and was knocked to the ground and subsequently kicked. He suffered a concussion and a bruised jaw from the attack. Police are still investigating whether Ball was targeted in a retaliatory attack. Ball is expected to return to practice Monday, although the team will ease him back into workouts, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Just the time that we have here, there's really no urge to get him back out there anytime soon. We'll just kind of progress as he feels comfortable and his doctors say OK," coach Bret Bielema said oSunday. Ball acknowledged that he'll have to have a keener sense of awareness now that his profile has been magnified as a result of his on-field success and the assault. "Everyone's watching to see what I do as soon as I step out of my apartment. It's a learning experience. You live and you learn, and I'm most definitely going to count my blessings and thank the Lord that I only have a bruised jaw," he said. Bielema told reporters that Ball, unsolicited, addressed his teammates at an "open mic" team meeting. "It took a certain type of person to get up and pledge what he was going to do from this point forward," Bielema said. "He said, ???Hey, I apologize if I have been a distraction. I didn't mean it to be anything moving forward.' " - Mike Singer, CBSSports.com

08/07/2012 - Montee Ball emerged from a training room tucked inside the bowels of Camp Randall Stadium on Monday afternoon wearing his customary No. 28 red University of Wisconsin football jersey. But just as quickly as he appeared, Ball vanished from view into solitude. On a day in which the Badgers began their first fall practice of the season, Ball, the team's marquee player and a Heisman Trophy candidate, went mostly unseen. The star running back has yet to be cleared to practice as he recovers from a concussion sustained when five men attacked him last week in an early-morning incident near campus. Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said Monday after practice that Ball likely won't return to the field for full-contact drills for two more weeks. He does anticipate Ball being ready in time for Wisconsin's season opener against Northern Iowa on Sept. 1. "We're taking it extremely slow," Bielema said. "We should have him there for all the game week preparation, which is where I think I'd have to be to play him in that opener. It sounds like everything is going to happen full speed ahead." - Jesse Temple, Fox Sports Wisconsin

08/07/2012 - COLLEGE FOOTBALL'S TOP 10 MOST VALUABLE NON-QBS: 8. Montee Ball, Wisconsin, RB: Ball got in much better shape in 2011 and emerged as record-setting back and a legit Heisman contender. Still, the Badgers are loaded in the backfield with an already proven big-time RB in junior James White plus a handful of gifted guys behind their first two. - Bruce Feldman, CBSSports.com

08/06/2012 - Wisconsin running back Montee Ball hasn't been cleared to practice as he recovers from a concussion sustained when he was roughed up by five men in an early morning incident near campus last week. Badgers coach Bret Bielema says the team will work Ball back into practice slowly, and hopes he will be ready for the Sept. 1 season opener against Northern Iowa. While police continue to investigate whether an earlier fight involving Badgers football players might have triggered the attack on Ball, Bielema doesn't believe the senior running back did anything that will jeopardize his standing on the team or his Heisman Trophy hopes. Bielema said he believes Ball wasn't involved in the earlier fight. Bielema calls it a "police matter that I'm letting them handle." - AP Sports

08/04/2012 - Detectives investigating an assault that left star Wisconsin running back Montee Ball with a concussion have identified ''several persons of interest'' and believe the altercation may be related to a fight five days earlier, Madison police said Saturday. Investigators determined that a fight occurred late on July 27 and into the morning of July 28 involving Wisconsin students, members of the football team and others, according to a police statement. Ball was present but there is no indication he participated in the fight, police said. One person was injured during that fight and was treated at a hospital. Five days later, five men roughed up Ball near campus. Ball was walking down a street Wednesday around 2:15 a.m. after ''socializing'' with friends, police said. Two friends walking ahead of him turned around and saw Ball on the ground. The men had surrounded him and were kicking him in the head and chest. ''Although Montee Ball was assaulted on a public street, this incident does not fit the pattern of random violence that we have seen in recent weeks in downtown Madison,'' Madison police Chief Noble Wray said in a statement. The area where Ball was attacked is on the edge of the Wisconsin campus and features multiple bars. Police have been dealing with what they say are combative crowds in the area all summer. Ball, a Heisman Trophy finalist last season as a junior, suffered a concussion that will keep him out of practice when camp starts Monday. ''With success, will come many haters And completely fabricated stories!! I will stick to what I've been doing since day 1 (hash)eyesontheprize,'' Ball tweeted Friday evening. - AP Sports

08/03/2012 - Madison police believe there may have been a "precipitating event" that led to the attack on Wisconsin running back Montee Ball Wednesday morning. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, Central District Captain Carl Gloede says the police are trying to find out "what the incident was, when and where it happened." The police are also looking into whether or not Ball or any other Wisconsin football players were involved. Gloede also said that a witness told the police that one of Ball's assailants said something like "one down, nine to go" suggesting that there are other targets. As for the TMZ report that Ball was involved in a fight at a player's home before the attack, and that Ball emphatically denied, the police said the incident TMZ reported is "not what we're looking at." Ball suffered a concussion and had to be treated at a local hospital following the attack. He will miss the start of Wisconsin training camp on Monday due to the concussion. The Heisman finalist finished the 2011 season with 1,923 rushing yards and 39 total touchdowns for the Badgers. - Tom Fornelli, CBSSports.com

08/02/2012 - Wisconsin running back Montee Ball is denying a report that he was involved in a fight with teammates before he was attacked on Wednesday morning. According to TMZ, Ball and several Wisconsin teammates may have been involved in a fight at a home several days before Wednesday's attack. Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... cops have received tips about a brawl at a UW football player's home roughly one week before Ball was jumped on campus. According to our sources, cops have been told Ball was at the home ... and along with some of his teammates, may have participated in beating up a non-football player. Ball took to Twitter on Thurday afternoon to deny the report..."The report that I was involved in a fight is totally false." Ball was attacked on campus by several assailants Wednesday morning and had to be treated at a local hospital. As a result of the attack Ball sustained a concussion. While reasons for the attack on Ball still aren't clear, witnesses say that Ball had exchanged words with his assailants before the attack. - Tom Fornelli, CBSSports.com

08/02/2012 - Senior running back Montee Ball will not be ready for the start of preseason football camp on Monday, University of Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said on Thursday morning during a taping of the show "Sidelines," at the WISC-TV studios. Ball suffered a concussion on Wednesday morning in what Madison police called an "unprovoked assault." According to witnesses, five men attacked Ball while he was walking in the 500 block of University Avenue. Bielema gave no indication Ball would have any long-term issues and said the situation would provide at least two benefits: It would give the other running backs more snaps in practice, while giving Bielema a chance to limit Ball's exposure to hits -- which is something Bielema was looking to do anyway. Running back is one of the deepest positions on the team. Junior James White is the backup, and even though he missed the end of spring practices with a minor knee injury, coaches are looking for ways to get him on the field. The same goes for redshirt freshman Melvin Gordon, who Ball predicted has a chance to be a great player. - Tom Mulhern, The Wisconsin State Journal

08/01/2012 - Wisconsin senior running back Montee Ball, a 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist, was hospitalized after he was a victim of an "unprovoked assault" early Wednesday morning. Ball was released from the hospital and the school did not disclose the severity of his injuries, but the police report said Ball suffered head injuries. "My concern right now is for Montee's health and well-being," Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema said in the release. "Montee has been released from the hospital and is under the care and supervision of our sports medicine staff. We will continue to evaluate him as we approach the start of fall camp this weekend. I do expect Montee to make a full recovery." Ball was considered a first-round caliber back after his junior season in 2011 but opted to return to the reigning Big Ten champions. The police report on the City of Madison (Wisc.) web site lists the details of the incident as follows: "A 21-year old man was attacked while walking in the 500 block of University Ave. early (Wednesday) morning," the report reads. "Witnesses said five men jumped the victim. He was knocked to the ground and kicked. The victim was taken to a hospital with head injuries. It does not appear he knew his attackers and this is being investigated as an unprovoked assault. The criminals were last seen running south on N. Frances St. toward the Kohl Center." - The Sports Xchange

07/29/2012 - Ball knew that better than anyone else, coming off a season in which he was a surprising Heisman Trophy finalist, rushing for 1,923 yards and tying the NCAA record with 39 total touchdowns. "Never be complacent," Ball said. "Like (running backs) coach (Thomas) Hammock always tells us, ???The enemy of great is being good.' That's what I'm striving to be - great." Herbert marveled at the way the group competed in the offseason and it started at the top, with Ball. In the winter, Herbert set up a round of six stations, in which two players competed head-to-head. Each station featured a football drill, which lasted about five minutes, with about 60 combined repetitions. "(Ball) was challenged more than anybody," Hammock said. "He won every one. He was always at the front of the line, pushing the guys." It continued over the summer with the young guys nipping at Ball's heels, whether running steps in the upper deck at Camp Randall Stadium, or doing "shotgun 15s," which are a series of 15-yard sprints - which are run after players have exhausted themselves doing other drills. "It's all different types of things that test you in all different types of ways," Herbert said. "Those (young) guys were coming at (Ball) from all angles, because they're hungry. The thing about Montee, he's as hungry as he's ever been." Ball put on nine pounds, up to 215. A year ago, he bench-pressed 325 pounds two times. This year, he did two reps at 370. "We really focused on my upper-body strength, made an emphasis of basically being a beast in the weight room," he said. "And carrying forward what I do in the weight room on the field." - Tom Mulhern, The Wisconsin State Journal

07/28/2012 - Joe Theismann had one of the more innovative Heisman Trophy campaigns at Notre Dame in 1970. Theismann changed the pronunciation of his last name, to rhyme with Heisman, supposedly at the urging of the school's sports information director, Roger Valdiserri. Previously, the quarterback's name was prounounced THEEZ-man. University of Wisconsin senior running back Montee Ball didn't have a Heisman stunt in mind when he decided he would prefer his first name to be pronounced Mon-TAY, instead of Mon-TEE. Ball first brought it up in December to reporters before the Heisman ceremony in New York City, then dropped it. He brought it up again at the urging of his girlfriend and it became a major topic at the Big Ten Conference Media Days. "I don't think he thought it was going to be as big a deal as it is," UW coach Bret Bielema said Friday. "I think he's a little overwhelmed by how big a deal it's been." That's what happens when you're one of the leading contenders for the Heisman. Everything tends to get magnified. While the name correction had nothing to do with the Heisman, Ball still heard about it from running backs coach Thomas Hammock. "I'm going to hear a lot of (stuff) from coach Hammock," Ball said. "He's like, 'Oh, now you're going for the Heisman and you're going to change your name?'' Ball's birth certificate has an accent mark over the second "e" and it only came to light when his girlfriend heard his family refer to him as Mon-TAY, according to Bielema. "He'd just never stood up and said, 'This is my name,'' Bielema said. He's also in line for some significant individual records, needing just 18 touchdowns to break the NCAA record for career TDs (78). He needs 19 rushing touchdowns to break that career mark. "As a player, I want to break records," Ball said. "All of us players want to break records, we want to see what we're capable of doing. But most importantly, I want to go undefeated." - Tom Mulhern, The Wisconsin State Journal

07/26/2012 - Heisman Trophy candidate Montee Ball is now pronouncing his name Mon-TAY rather than MON-tee, University of Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema said Thursday at the Big Ten Media Kickoff. "He's had a name change," Bielema said with a bit of a smile. No word yet on whether he's added one of those sweet French accent marks to signify it. Ball not only is the top returning Heisman vote-getter - he finished fourth last year - and the top returning rusher in major college football with 1,923 yards, along with an NCAA record 236 points and a record-tying 39 all-purpose touchdowns. Interestingly, he's also the Badgers' top returning passer, with 57 yards to 48 for Joe Brennan. It never hurts a Heisman candidate's chances to be chasing an NCAA record - see Ron Dayne's pursuit of the all-time rushing mark in 1999 - and Ball has an attainable one in his sights: He needs 18 touchdowns to become the NCAA's all-time leader. Ball has 61 career scores, including five catches. Miami of Ohio's Travis Prentice amassed 78 from 1996-99. "I'd love to be a head coach that coaches a Heisman Trophy winner," Bielema said. "Our offensive line would love to be an offensive line that blocks for a Heisman Trophy winner, and everybody in our program is going to try to help him win that award." To that end, the program unveiled on UWBadgers.com a special web page for Montee Ball and will promote him under the catchy slogan "This Fall Belongs to Ball." - Adam Mertz, Wisconsin State Journal

07/26/2012 - The Big Ten Conference announced today its second annual football Players to Watch list, with 10 players earning preseason recognition. The preseason Players to Watch list is selected by a media panel and consists of five student-athletes each from the Legends Division and Leaders Division. Representing the Legends Division are Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan and quarterback Denard Robinson, Michigan State cornerback Johnny Adams and defensive end William Gholston and Nebraska running back Rex Burkhead.The Leaders Division honorees are Ohio State defensive lineman John Simon and quarterback Braxton Miller, Purdue defensive tackle Kawann Short and Wisconsin running back Montee Ball and linebacker Chris Borland. The list of honorees includes the last two Big Ten Offensive Players of the Year in Robinson (2010) and Ball (2011), two Big Ten Freshman of the Year honorees in Borland (2009) and Miller (2011), five All-Americans and nine All-Conference selections. Ball, Borland, Robinson, Short and Simon have each been named All-Americans in past seasons. All five Legends Division players have earned All-Big Ten honors, including first-team accolades for Adams, Burkhead and Robinson and second-team laurels for Lewan and Gholston. The Leaders Division honorees include four first-team All-Big Ten selections in Ball, Borland, Short and Simon. - Big Ten football

07/22/2012 - If Ball posts impressive numbers in his final season and UW wins another Big Ten title, Ball should be a Heisman finalist once more. His image suffered a minor blemish in May when he was cited for trespassing during the annual Mifflin St. Block Party. However, based on how quickly the incident disappeared from the national radar screen, it probably hasn't permanently marred Ball's image or hurt his Heisman chances. "I don't see why it would," Ball said. Ball didn't return to UW to win a Heisman, however. He came back to show NFL scouts he was worthy of more than a third-round pick, which was his projected landing spot after last season; to lead UW to a third consecutive Big Ten title; and this time to help UW cap its season with a bowl victory. "I believe that right now we are the targeted team in the Big Ten," Ball said, "because of what we've done these past two years." Ball also believes some observers, including some UW fans, insist he made a poor choice by returning for his senior season. Their logic: Ball won't be able to match his numbers from 2011 and his draft stock could fall. Ball, who has worked on increasing his initial burst and top-end speed in the off-season, believes otherwise. "People didn't say things to my face," he said. "But I did see a lot of comments on the Internet. I'm glad I decided to get away from it. "Because no matter what you do in life, there are going to be people who say you're doing the wrong thing. "It is a lot of fuel for my fire this year." - Jeff Potrykus, The Journal Sentinel

07/20/2012 - 2012 DOAK WALKER AWARD PRESEASON WATCH LIST: Montee Ball (Sr.), Wisconsin, has been selected to the Preseason Doak Walker Award Watch List for the 2012 college football season, presented annually to the nation's premier running back for his accomplishments on the field, achievement in the classroom and citizenship in the community. A 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist, Ball is the top returning rusher in the nation with 3,310 career rushing yards. He needs 17 total touchdowns and 18 rushing touchdowns to tie the NCAA career records in each category. He was a finalist for the Doak Walker Award last season and was a consensus first-team All-American. A unanimous, consensus first-team All-Big Ten pick, Ball claimed the Graham-George Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Award and was also named the inaugural winner of the Ameche-Dayne Big Ten Running Back of the Year Award. - Wisconsin football

07/20/2012 - 2012 PRESEASON WALTER CAMP PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD WATCH LIST: Montee Ball, senior, RB, Wisconsin, has been named one of of fifty preseason "players to watch" for The Walter Camp Football Foundation 2012 Player of the Year Award, the nation's fourth-oldest individual college football accolade. A 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist, Ball is the top returning rusher in the nation with 3,310 career rushing yards. He needs 17 total touchdowns and 18 rushing touchdowns to tie the NCAA career records in each category. He was a finalist for the Doak Walker Award last season and was a consensus first-team All-American. A unanimous, consensus first-team All-Big Ten pick, Ball claimed the Graham-George Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Award and was also named the inaugural winner of the Ameche-Dayne Big Ten Running Back of the Year Award. Ball tied Barry Sanders' NCAA record with 39 touchdowns last season and led the nation in rushing with 1,923 yards - averaging 6.26 yards per carry. Adding in his 306 receiving yards, Ball's 2,229 yards from scrimmage also led the nation. In five games against ranked teams last season, Ball averaged 164.0 all-purpose yards and scored 15 touchdowns. The senior has also been named to the Maxwell Award and Doak Walker Award watch lists. - Wisconsin football

07/10/2012 - 2012 MAXWELL AWARD PRESEASON WATCHLIST: Montee Ball, Wisconsin, RB, Sr., has been selected to the preseason Maxwell Award watchlist for the 2012 college football season, given to America's outstanding collegiate football player since 1937 and named in honor of sportswriter Robert W. "Tiny" Maxwell. One of eight Big Ten players named to the Maxwell Award list, the Wentzville, Mo., native is also among 30 running backs who enter the season as challengers for the award. Ball is the top returning rusher in the nation with 3,310 career rushing yards. He needs 17 total touchdowns and 18 rushing touchdowns to tie the NCAA career records in each category. The 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist was also a finalist for the Doak Walker Award last season and was a consensus first-team All-American. A unanimous, consensus first-team All-Big Ten pick, Ball claimed the Graham-George Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Award and also was named the inaugural winner of the Ameche-Dayne Big Ten Running Back of the Year Award. - Wisconsin football

06/27/2012 - Heisman Watch 2012: Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin - Ball's junior season was one for the record books. On 307 carries, Ball gained an incredible 1,923 yards and found the end zone 33 times on the ground. His 39 total touchdowns tied Barry Sanders' single-season record and he stands alone with the record for most consecutive games with two or more touchdowns (13). Ball has a few things going against him however. Even with his monster season in 2011, he finished fourth in the Heisman voting, receiving just 22 first-place votes (RG III had 405 first-place votes). Even under perfect circumstances, it seems unlikely that Ball can come close to duplicating his historic 2011 numbers, and the Badgers head into 2012 with questions at quarterback and along the offensive line. - Nicholas DeLorenzo, The Sports Network

06/15/2012 - In a season that saw University of Wisconsin teams claim a national championship and five conference titles, outstanding individual performances abounded for the Badgers. In light of those successes in multiple sports, the challenge of selecting the Badgers' top athletes from a pool of five men's and five women's finalists was no easy task. On Friday, UW Athletics named junior football player Montee Ball as its Male Athlete of the Year and junior women's hockey player Brianna Decker as its Female Athlete of the Year. A finalist for college football's top award - the Heisman Trophy - Ball was one of the key components of Wisconsin's run to a second-straight Big Ten championship in football. He led the nation in rushing, matched the NCAA single-season record for touchdowns and was a consensus first-team All-American. - Wisconsin football

05/07/2012 - Madison police say Wisconsin running back Montee Ball has been ticketed for trespassing during the annual Mifflin Street block party. Police spokesman Joel DeSpain says Ball was on the porch of home Saturday and a resident didn't want him there. A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report says several Mifflin St. residents have posted no-trespassing signs this year, allowing police to issue tickets if unwanted people are on the property. DeSpain says Ball was cooperative, and alcohol wasn't an issue. The junior was given a $429 ticket. Justin Doherty, the school's associate athletic director, says coach Bret Bielema will likely have a conversation with his star running back over the incident. - AP Sports

05/05/2012 - As legal offenses go, a citation for trespassing during a massive college block party isn't exactly a major one. But it's still major enough that Wisconsin running back and Heisman candidate Montee Ball is now $429 lighter in the wallet. That's the report from Madison's WISC-TV, which quoted Madison Police Chief Noble Wray as confirming Ball's Saturday afternoon citation during the annual Mifflin Street Block Party. According to reporter Theo Keith, Ball was briefly arrested, cited, and released after trespassing onto the porch of a property owner during the block party. Ball was reportedly cooperative with police and the citation was not alcohol-related. The citation will nonetheless cost him the full $429, and possibly some kind of punishment from Badger head coach Bret Bielema--though it's difficult, if not impossible, to see Ball facing suspension given his clean track record and the minor nature of the offense. Ball was one of some 150-plus people arrested during the block party so far, meaning that he's hardly alone among Wisconsin students facing some level of legal issue after this Saturday. But we're guessing that Ball's incident winds up more footnote than major story when all is said and done. - Jerry Hinnen, CBS Sports

04/23/2012 - Ball made the call to return a few days before the Rose Bowl, after receiving his evaluation from the NFL Draft Advisory Board. Though he might have produced one of the greatest offensive seasons in college football history, pro scouts shrugged and pegged him as a third-rounder. "That shocked me a little bit," Ball said. "I didn't understand it, honestly. I was first in every single [rushing] stat last year." So he huddled with his parents, who supported his decision to come back. Montee Sr. and Melissa Ball moved from Wentzville, Mo., to just outside of Madison shortly after their son enrolled to be around for his college days, and they wanted to see him earn a degree. Ball -- who's 35 credit hours short of graduating -- recently took out an insurance policy through the NCAA in case of an injury this year. The word from NFL personnel was Ball looked too light to play running back at the next level, which was a bit ironic since he dropped from 230 pounds as a sophomore to a playing weight of 203 last year. Standing next to the freakishly strong Richardson during the Heisman ceremony did make Ball feel a little too small, though. He's experimenting with his weight this spring and is up to about 213 now. He may be a little heavier, but he's just as quick as ever during spring practice. Maybe even quicker. "He's definitely gotten faster," Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said. "It's hard to imagine. But I really think his explosiveness has increased." - Brian Bennett, ESPN


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