(CBS) Wisconsin running back Montee Ball, this year’s Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, announced Thursday in a press conference that he will return for his senior season.
Ball requested a draft evaluation from the NFL and was told he was currently projected as a third round pick, which “really disappointed” him.
“I believe I’m capable of playing in the NFL and producing,” Ball said. “But in signing my letter of intent, I said I’m here to serve Badger Nation until my time is up, and that’s what I’m going to do.”
The Heisman Trophy finalist dropped weight before the season and was told by the NFL evaluators that they want him to add more strength. He said he will add 10 pounds and play next season at 215 pounds.
Ball ran for 1,923 yards this season and 2,229 all-purpose yards. He scored 39 touchdowns on the year, tying Barry Sanders’ all-time mark. He’ll enter 2012 as the highest returning vote-getter from the 2011 Heisman Trophy race.