Jan. 29, 2010
With National Signing Day coming up on Wednesday, Feb. 3, UWBadgers.com is reflecting on last season’s Signing Day, focusing specifically on five true freshmen that made an impact on the field during the 2009 season. Today is the third of the five-part series and features running back Montee Ball. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the first two parts to the series.
MADISON, Wis. -- The Signing Day experience for Montee Ball was not unlike that of fellow freshman Chris Borland. Both held small gatherings at the school, but the events stayed low-key.
“It was a special day,” Ball said. “We held it in our school’s library and I had friends there and other kids from my school to come watch. It was pretty exciting. We had a party afterward and had some fun, but then I got back to football.”
The Wentzville, Mo., says he knew very little about the school during the recruiting process. He was familiar with its history with running backs, though.
“To be honest, I didn’t know too much about Wisconsin,” Ball explained. “I did know about Ron Dayne, though. Once I came up here for my official visit I knew for sure this is where I wanted to go.”
Ball got a quick dose of reality when fall practice rolled around. He braced himself as best he could.
“I was thinking that it would be rough,” he said. “The transition from high school to here was hard to grasp. The playbook hit me in the face pretty hard. I had to get a hold of that pretty quickly. After that, I just went with the flow and got back to playing football.”
Learning to balance his new college life was another obstacle Ball had to overcome.
“The commitment was one of the biggest adjustments,” he said. “Outside of football with academics, you have to balance that with football. That’s the main key.”
The season got off to a slow start for Ball as the season commenced. He didn’t see game action until the team’s fifth game of the season at Minnesota. In fact, it was just a couple weeks prior that it was determined Ball would not be redshirting.
“The coaches and I didn’t really know [what to expect for the season],” Ball said. “The week leading up to the Wofford game was when I sat down with Coach Bielema and he told me that he felt I could keep the chains moving, so that’s when we settled it out that I wasn’t going to redshirt.”
The statistics reflect what a positive impact Ball had on the team. He finished second in rushing yards with 391, rushing attempts with 98 and rushing touchdowns with four. In addition, he caught nine passes for 92 yards.
His best performance came against Indiana on Nov. 7 when he replaced injured starting running back John Clay and ran for a career-high 115 yards on 27 carries. He added two rushing touchdowns as the Badgers beat the Hoosiers, 31-28.
Signing Day reflections: Travis Frederick
Signing Day reflections: Chris Borland
UW Athletic Communications