Wednesday, November 28, 2012
UW's Ball is B1G's lone AFCA All-American
By Adam Rittenberg
As Montee Ball's college career winds down, there's a lot of talk about the Wisconsin star being underappreciated.
There's certainly some truth to the argument, particularly this season, when some foolishly branded Ball as a disappointment because of Wisconsin's struggles at offensive line and at quarterback. That's just silly talk.
Ball didn't repeat as Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, and barring a surprise, he won't be going back to New York next week as a Heisman Trophy finalist. But he's still getting his due in some places, like the 2012 American Football Coaches Association All-America team.
The Wisconsin senior is the Big Ten's only representative on the team, and one of just two players named in consecutive seasons (Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones is the other). The Big Ten has the least amount of players on the squad among the major conferences.
Ball ranks second in the Big Ten and eighth nationally in rushing average (127.3 ypg) and leads the league in rushing touchdowns (18). Last week he became the NCAA's all-time leader in total touchdowns scored.
There aren't any huge snubs, although Penn State linebacker Michael Mauti would have been a good choice, ahead of, say, Alabama's C.J. Mosley. Other potential selections include Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller (Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year), Michigan State running back Le'Veon Bell and Ohio State defensive end John Simon (Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year).
Ball is the first Wisconsin play to earn AFCA All-America honors twice in his career.