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Wisconsin's Ball: Projection as third-rounder kept me in school

  • By NFL.com
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University of Wisconsin running back Montee Ball announced on Thursday that he will not apply for entry to the NFL draft.

Ball, who scored 39 touchdowns this season, tying Barry Sanders' NCAA record, will return to Wisconsin for his senior season.

"I came down to looking in the mirror and telling myself what’s best for myself and my family and just listening to my heart," Ball said at a news conference announcing his decision, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Ball said NFL evaluators told him he'd likely be a third-round pick in April's draft.

"I was really disappointed," he said. "I do believe I'm better than (a) third-round (pick)... I'm really looking forward to bettering my stock and preparing even harder in the offseason."

He finished the season with 1,923 yards rushing and 2,229 all-purpose yards, second-best in Wisconsin history, behind Ron Dayne's 2,242 yards in 1996.

Ball admitted that there is risk in electing to forgo the draft and play another full season in college, where he could perhaps be injured.

"Obviously I'm taking a pretty huge gamble," he said. "But I believe I'm making the right decision…

"I'm not really worried too much about money right now," he added.

He rushed for 164 yards and a touchdown in the Badgers' 45-38 loss to Oregon in the Rose Bowl on Monday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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