Montee Ball Should Finally Be Recognized This Year as a Legit Heisman Candidate

Brad Washington@@theGURO15Correspondent IIJuly 16, 2012

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 02:  Running back Montee Ball #28 of the Wisconsin Badgers runs the ball in the first half against the Oregon Ducks at the 98th Rose Bowl Game on January 2, 2012 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Wisconsin Badgers' senior running back Montee Ball continued his maturation process last season by leading the nation in rushing yards (1923) and rushing touchdowns (33).

He doubled his rushing yards from his sophomore season (996) and nearly doubled his rushing touchdowns (18).

And yet, he only finished fourth in the Heisman voting process.

We can say what we want about Wisconsin being a running back-fueled system or its zone blocking schemes, but when you put up those numbers in an usually good defensive conference, you have to reward that player.

Thankfully, Robert Griffin was rewarded the Heisman instead of Andrew Luck and “best players on the best teams” Tyrann Mathieu and Trent Richardson, so there’s hope for Montee Ball next season.

Unless Wisconsin makes a run for a title and then he will be a shoo-in.

Montee Ball has 55 career-rushing touchdowns after wrapping up his junior season versus Oregon in the Rose Bowl.

He’s 17 touchdowns away from breaking Ron Daynes career Big Ten rushing touchdown record, and 19 away from breaking Travis Prentice’s NCAA career mark of rushing touchdowns.

All of this is being done at the University of Wisconsin, a powerhouse and legendary college football school. So where is the respect?

In every game last season except three, Montee Ball had at least two rushing touchdowns. He also had two games where he had at least 10 yards per carry and two games with four touchdowns.

Keep in mind that Montee Ball’s 33 rushing touchdowns are only second to Barry Sanders in rushing touchdowns in a season with 37.

Because he goes to a running back factory, he will be overlooked by default. This is a bad slight to him even though he is Heisman caliber.

I think Montee Ball may not successfully duplicate his previous season exactly, but he should have a great enough season where he can be rightfully put into the talks of actually winning the stiff-arm trophy.

Not knock to these two, but put Trent Richardson or Tyrann Mathieu on a nine win or 10 win team and they would have been in the same position that Montee Ball was in last season. Mathieu may not have even been in New York.

Let’s see how Montee Ball will start his Heisman candidacy September 1 versus Northern Iowa.