Ball Makes the Call

Rushing for 3,077 yards and 32 touchdowns last season, Missouri prep running back Montee Ball, the 48th-ranked running back in the nation by Scout Media, gives his verbal commitment to the University of Wisconsin Sunday night.

MADISON - At 5-foot-11, 205 pounds, Montee Ball's numbers and accolades (first-team all-state, all-metro, all-conference and Athlete of the Year) were enough to spark the interest of numerous colleges throughout the Midwest.

But it was an offer from Wisconsin at the end of May that really peaked Ball's interest.

So when Ball made his first visit to Wisconsin last Friday to tour the campus, see the facilities and meet the staff, he had a feeling on the ride back home that Madison was where he wanted to be.

"When I sat down with the coaches, I really felt like I could converse with them easier," Ball told Badger Nation Sunday night. "They say that when you go to the college that you get that feeling and that's the feeling I got from Wisconsin. Everything was perfect."

Ball called head coach Bret Bielema Sunday night to deliver the good news that he chose Wisconsin over his six other scholarship offers: Indiana, Iowa State, Kansas State, Missouri, Northwestern and Stanford.

"He was pretty excited and pretty amped about it," Ball said of his phone call with Coach Bielema. "He told me that he looked at his cell phone and saw the 636 area code and he said he got a little excited. He was pretty pumped to have me."

Ball is the first Missouri prospect to commit to the Badgers since St. Louis' Niles Brinkley in 2006. Badger fans will recall another St. Louis prospect switching his commitment late last season when wide receiver Wes Kemp, ranked No.33 by Scout, committed to Wisconsin in the fall, only to switch his commitment in early January to Missouri to stay close to home.

This time around, Ball felt that his style never really meshed with the Tigers.

"I just couldn't see myself fitting into Missouri's offense," he said. "I am a better fit for Wisconsin and they were definitely the best fit for me out of all seven offers that I had."

Ball's style is just what Wisconsin needs and craves. A very smart player, Ball reads his blockers and can find a hole in the line just as good as anybody. A shifty runner that has solid balance, Ball's smaller stature has given plenty of defensive player's headaches as he not only can be an elusive tackle, but can run over an unsuspecting defensive back as well.

"I can definitely pound it like the physical power that P.J. (Hill) has or out run the defensive like Lance (Smith)," Ball said. "I think that's why the coaches and my recruiting coach (Coach Doeren) really liked my film because of my style of running."

Ball is the sixth verbal commitment to Wisconsin and second in the past 12 days. Originally thinking that he was going to wait and commit to a college during his senior season, Ball, after taking a day to sleep on the decision and talk to his family, realized that he didn't want to wait any longer.

"After thinking about it, I wanted to commit now because it allows me to focus on my senior year instead of the recruiting process," Ball said. "Everything at Wisconsin is perfect for me. I can't wait to experience the environment. They said that the games are a whole city thing. Everyone is into it and that's what I want to be a part of and be involved in."

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