Flying in the face of what other people thought was best for his football future, Montee Ball has confirmed Wednesday’s reports: he’s heading back to school.
At a press conference Thursday, Ball announced that he will return to Wisconsin for his senior season. Ball was given a third-round grade by the NFL’s draft advisory committee, which likely was the overriding factor in his decision to stay with the Badgers for another season.
“I believe that I am mentally ready (for the NFL),” Ball said, “but I think I need to become stronger and faster and I believe another year in the program will most definitely get me to that level.
“I do believe that I need to come back for my degree because education is most important and that will give me another year to become a better football player. I believe it’s a win-win situation.”
This decision is actually no surprise to the UW football program; the running back informed his coaches after telling his parents Saturday and his teammates in the locker room following the Rose Bowl loss to Oregon Monday that he would be returning for another year.
Ball currently leads the nation in rushing with 1,923 yards and scored 39 total touchdowns this season — 33 rushing, six receiving.
Along with Matt Barkley, who also surprised most observers by returning to USC for another season, Ball will enter the 2012 season as one of the Heisman front-runners. He was a finalist for the stiff-arm trophy in 2011, and finished fourth in the voting; the three finalists who finished ahead of him — Baylor’s Robert Griffin III, Stanford’s Andrew Luck and Alabama’s Trent Richardson — all either have announced or are expected to announce they are leaving early for the NFL draft.
It’s a bad time for the Big 12. The conference isn’t signing blue chip prospects at the rate of its peers, isn’t producing draft picks at the rate of its peers and isn’t reaching and winning big games at the rate of its peers.
But the Big 12 is still getting paid at the rate of its peers.
The league’s contracts with ESPN and FOX combined with its 10-team set up have allowed the Big 12 to keep pace with the SEC and Big Ten and remain ahead of the ACC and Pac-12 in financial distribution. The Dallas Morning News‘s Big 12 writer Chuck Carlton tweeted on Friday the league’s per-school distribution will again grow 10 percent to more than $33 million in 2017-18.
The SEC distributed just north of $40 million in 2016-17, while the Big Ten was at $33 million by 2014-15.
However, since the Big 12 does not have its own television network, its conference distributions do not include third-tier rights, which its schools keep and sell on their own — like the Longhorn Network. So schools like Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas are likely getting paid equal or above their SEC and Big Ten peers.
Now if only they could start recruiting and winning like them, too.
Former Texas defensive tackle Jordan Elliott will now be a Missouri Tiger, he announced on Friday.
Elliott chose Missouri to follow Brick Haley, his defensive line coach in Austin that landed at Mizzou after Charlie Strong‘s firing.
“They’re a program that’s on the come up, SEC ball is the highest level,” Elliott said in an interview with Power Mizzou. “Coach Haley is one of the best D-Line coaches out there. Missouri’s a powerhouse for defensive linemen. They’re coming and going first round every year. That’s real appealing to me.
“I talked to coach Haley and got it rolling.”
Elliott was a Signing Day addition to Strong’s 2016 class who was committed to Michigan before his late flip. He said that his one season in Austin amounted to a year-long version of buyer’s remorse.
“There’s a lot of speculation going around, but at the end of the day I just wasn’t happy there,” he said. “It’s nothing against the coaches at Texas, they’re great coaches. It’s a great program and I really learned a lot of things, but I just never really enjoyed Texas since I first got there.”
Elliott posted eight tackles and 1.5 TFLs in six appearances as a true freshman last season before suffering a torn MCL against Iowa State in October.
He would have been in line for starter’s snaps had he remained on Tom Herman‘s squad this fall. Instead, Elliott will sit out the 2017 campaign and have three years remaining to compete as a Tiger beginning in ’18.
Tired of the continuous stream of negative college football news? Here ya go.
During a September 2015 game against Georgia, Southern wide receiver Devon Gales sustained a severe spinal injury that left him paralyzed and hospitalized for five months. This week, Gales used Twitter to offer up a very encouraging and inspiring update — the former wide receiver, with the assist of a couple of physical therapists, taking a dozen steps.
On the way indeed.
In February, Georgia announced that it was launching “Drive to Build a Dawg House” for Gales and his family.
One of the top playmakers in Nebraska’s passing game has avoided what was originally a serious legal charge.
According to KETV-TV in Omaha, Stanley Morgan was arrested following a traffic stop May 6 in Port Orange, Fla., for possession of 21.4 grams of marijuana; according to the penal code in the state of Florida, possession of more than 20 grams of weed is considered a felony. However, the television station wrote, “prosecutors charged the case as ‘possession of cannabis not more than 20 grams,’ making it a misdemeanor.”
Why the the charge against Morgan went from a potential felony to a misdemeanor — or reduced as the Associated Press reported — wasn’t detailed. A misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia charge was dropped as well.
Cornhuskers defensive back Antonio Reed was also in the vehicle that was driven by his teammate and was charged with misdemeanor pot possession as well.
“Head Coach Mike Riley and the Athletics Department are aware of a recent incident in Florida involving Stanley Morgan Jr.,” a statement from the university began. “We will have no additional comment until we have all information regarding this matter.”
Morgan’s 33 receptions for 453 yards were second on the team last season. With Jordan Westerkamp‘s departure, the junior is the Cornhuskers’ leading returning receiver.
Also a junior, Reed played in 22 games last season. He was credited with 22 tackles.