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Wisconsin’s Montee Ball: I’ll turn pro if I’ll go in the first two rounds

Darqueze Dennard, Montee Ball AP

Wisconsin junior running back Montee Ball said shortly after finding out that he’s a Heisman Trophy finalist that he’ll seek an opinion from the NFL draft advisory board about whether scouts think he’s ready to go pro.

Ball told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that if he’s projected as a first- or second-round pick, he’ll go to the NFL. If he’s told that he’d go in the third round or lower, he’s leaning toward returning to Wisconsin for his senior season.

“Obviously I’d love to hear first round,” Ball said. “I’d love to hear even late second. But third or four I’d most likely stay.”

Last year a Wisconsin running back, John Clay, chose to enter the NFL draft and was stunned when no one drafted him. Clay is currently on the Steelers’ practice squad.

But Ball, who leads the NCAA in rushing yards (1,759), rushing touchdowns (32) and total touchdowns (38), has been better at Wisconsin this year than Clay was last year. And Ball will almost certainly run a better 40-yard dash than the 4.87 that Clay ran this year. So there’s a good chance that Ball will get the news he wants to hear, and that he’ll be done playing college football after the Rose Bowl.

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29 Responses to “Wisconsin’s Montee Ball: I’ll turn pro if I’ll go in the first two rounds”
  1. bordner says: Dec 7, 2011 12:53 PM

    I would love to see him either remain in school and stay at Wisconsin or turn pro and stay in Wisconsin.

  2. seneca1ss says: Dec 7, 2011 12:53 PM

    If he’s available 2nd Rd – 5th Pick……The Tampa Bay Buccaneers select: Montee Ball RB Wisconsin

  3. dammitjim30 says: Dec 7, 2011 12:56 PM

    Sweet! He definitely will go top 2 rounds. He better. Maybe he will fall to late 1st round and maybe the Packers can get a legitimate RB.

  4. commieniko says: Dec 7, 2011 12:59 PM

    You always have to question how talented Wisconsin backs really are given that they consistently get the best blocking in the country

  5. chris6523 says: Dec 7, 2011 1:04 PM

    There’s been a lot of debate about Montee and whether he’d go pro. I think he’s looking at this the right way in that if he’s likely to go in the first two rounds, he’d be smart to go.

    My guess would be the draft advisory board will tell him second round. He catches the ball well, which is a rarity for badger backs, picks up blitzes and is really good in short yardage. There was a lot suggestion that he’s a system back and benefits greatly from the blocking he has in front of him, but there was significant dropoff this year from Montee to James White and White actually led the badgers in rushing last year (White 1052, Clay 1016, Ball 996).

  6. treydogg97 says: Dec 7, 2011 1:05 PM

    Draft the Wisco linemen, not the backs. The backs get gaping holes to run through all the time.

  7. andyreidisfat says: Dec 7, 2011 1:05 PM

    This I don’t get. I mean with the new salary structure being a 4 th or 5 th rounder is almost the same as being a 2 nd.

    Also no offense to ball but alot of his stats are because he runs be hind one of the better lines in college football.

    I don’t think ball is a top talent compared to other running backs coming out this year.

    Also if I was an nfl team i would never draft a rb before the third round. Of the top guys this year, I think only 2 of them were first or second round picks. Not to mention the guy who is probably the best all around back foster wasn’t even drafted.

  8. noeffinway says: Dec 7, 2011 1:07 PM

    Montee Ball…….lol…read the title and thought it had to do with a new wisconsin lottery game.

  9. metalhead65 says: Dec 7, 2011 1:09 PM

    somthing tells me he will find running against nfl defenses a little harder than say the little sisters of the poor the badgers play and run up the score against in collage. I hope the ducks pour it on against them in rose bowl even if they are a big ten team. I want to hear that smug coach of theirs say with a straight face that someone ran the score up on them. and yea when you are beating a team by 48 points or more at halftime you can start putting in the second team before the middle of the 4th quarter without fear of an amazing comeback.

  10. forthelove says: Dec 7, 2011 1:10 PM

    Smart guy. Your best case scenario going 3 or 4 is to tear it up and end up like Forte. But by then, you’ve got wear on the tires and if you’re playing for a crappy FO, they may make you play out your rookie contract rather than extend you for big bucks. Smart of him to bide his time if necessary.

  11. almighty1 says: Dec 7, 2011 1:18 PM

    Clay was stunned no one wanted a 270lb RB who runs the 40 in 4.8!?!?! I don’t believe Montee is a system guy. He has real talent. As a UW fan I think Ball is more of a complete back than anyone that’s come from there in a long time. Evidence by his throwing/receiving TDs as well as the rushing. Don’t make the mistake of comparing him to Ron Dayne or John Clay.

  12. 1265lombardiave says: Dec 7, 2011 1:20 PM

    The OLmen that block for these guys tend to be better pros than the backs. I can’t recall the last Badger back to hit big in the NFL? Dayne was a bust. Clay will probably never be much.

    He would be better off trying to win a Heisman,set more records and win another Big10 title than be the 55th player taken and sit 3rd string on a 7-9 team all year. Unless that 225,000 check is all that matters.

  13. justaintrightisit says: Dec 7, 2011 1:21 PM

    I hope he stays in college his last year, he is alot of fun to watch and could really help out a team that is most likely going to be very week at the q-back position

  14. zacmonte says: Dec 7, 2011 1:28 PM

    “Unless that 225,000 check is all that matters.”
    It’s not just that. College kids generally struggle (aside from the obvious cases where they are in a well off family or they receive illegal benefits). 1 less year in college is 1 less year of wear on his body when he gets into the NFL, potentially increasing his longevity in the NFL if only for a little bit. As a fan, you want to see them play another year and get their degree, but it’s much more complex than that from their prospective, plus it would be a wise career move.

  15. lungman says: Dec 7, 2011 1:41 PM

    Montee needs to get a clue. If he stays in school and adds another 300+ carries to his mileage, his stock only goes down.

    If he wants to be drafted as highly as possible in the NFL, he needs to come out this year.

  16. sasquash20 says: Dec 7, 2011 1:51 PM

    Hey Metalhead65 They have to run the score up. The way the BCS system is, all teams that have any kind of hope to get a national title shot have to run scores up and look more impressive. It is a very flawed system.

  17. kotcha23 says: Dec 7, 2011 1:52 PM

    Yes, he does have a talented o-line to run behind but some of the things he does in the open field to make people miss are incredible. Makes it look easy…there are other reasons, besides his O-Line, why he’s threating the total touchdown record set by Barry Sanders…

  18. sullijo1 says: Dec 7, 2011 1:54 PM

    With the 23rd pick in the 2nd round of the 2012 draft, the Denver Broncos select…….Montee Ball!!!!

    Would be a great fit.

  19. mushroomcloudmofo says: Dec 7, 2011 1:55 PM

    @metalhead – you gotta appreciate the irony in someone calling it “collage.” But you’re right, Bielema is smug – just like every other college coach.

    Ball has a good head on his shoulders. He’s not as talented as his numbers indicate, but he’s FAR superior to Dayne or Clay. His vision is what really sets him apart. Since he’s lost the weight (another thing that differentiates him from Clay) he has superb explosion in the hole, and excellent lateral movement. He’ll never be AD, but he’ll be solid somewhere.

  20. edavidberg says: Dec 7, 2011 1:55 PM

    He needs to go pro, careers for RBs are too short already. He will go in the first two rounds.

    Mikel LeShoure was faced with a similar decision last year and clearly made the right one. If he had his achilles’ injury when he was still in school I’m not sure anyone would have drafted him.

  21. realitypolice says: Dec 7, 2011 2:00 PM

    I would never draft a Wisconsin RB in the first round, period. And probably not the second, either.

    He may turn out to be great, but the track record is terrible (Ron Dayne, anyone?) and running backs can be found later in the draft.

    In fact, in today’s NFL, where backs seem to have very short shelf lives and many teams seem to able to just plug in another guy and go, I doubt I would ever draft ANY running back earlier than the late first round.

  22. cardiovascularendurance says: Dec 7, 2011 2:11 PM

    How many people do the draft advisory board tell will go in the first two rounds? 100? 150? That board is a joke.

  23. hatesycophants says: Dec 7, 2011 2:48 PM

    Anyone who says Ball is a superior runner to Ron Dayne never saw him perform. Ron Dayne is one of the Top 5 most dominant running backs in NCAA history. The difficulty came when an unimaginative Giants club had no idea how to use him. That thunder and lightening crap was garbage. That’s why you saw his game improve in Houston.

    Those facts notwithstanding, Montee is the real deal. He has matured physically and emotionally since last season. He will be a great pro. Giants suck.

    Go Lions! Go Badgers!

  24. EJ says: Dec 7, 2011 2:53 PM

    He will be projected to go in the late first, early second, but won’t be drafted until the middle third round thanks to the way the NFL uses basically 2-3 RB’s on each team to get the job done.
    He will end up going to either Tampa Bay or Washington.

  25. paychrisjohnson28 says: Dec 7, 2011 3:01 PM

    Does anyone know what Montee Ball’s height weight and 40 time is ? It is interesting that in the NFL draft process if a running back is at least 6’0 foot, isnt considered overweight and can run a 40 time 4.5 or under, it increases his draft status the faster he runs at the Combine, no matter what his college stats were it seems, it doesnt matter as much if he had good stats and has the other good measurables by scouts.

  26. cornersportsnet says: Dec 7, 2011 3:08 PM

    Turn pro youngan you can always finish school,and whats a degree worth 30 grand a year 7th rounders make 200 grand ,go pro youngan

  27. bsreimer says: Dec 7, 2011 3:09 PM

    He better win the Heisman

  28. stavreafavre says: Dec 7, 2011 4:03 PM

    He’ll be a bust like that other UW back – Alan Ameche or whatever his name was.

  29. atthemurph says: Dec 7, 2011 4:40 PM

    Ball isn’t like other WI backs. He isn’t the over powering force that Dayne was. He isn’t the straight ahead burn you with pure speed Michael Bennett and he isn’t a little scat back like Brian Calhoun, Anthony Davis or Terrell Fletcher. He’s bigger than the little guys, faster than the big guys and he has feel. He’s damn good but I just don’t think he has the pure speed and pure quickness to be a high NFL draft pick. I think he will play and be pretty good in the pro’s but not 1st or 2nd round. To be that he has to be a burner and he isn’t.

    I’m also a UW alum and have seen every one of Balls games.

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