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Tag:Rob Rang
Posted on: January 5, 2012 5:09 pm
 

Georgia Tech WR Hill declaring for NFL Draft

Posted by Chip Patterson

Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill has opted to forego his senior season and enter the 2012 NFL Draft. The Yellow Jackets were not an especially prolific passing offense this season, but when Tevin Washington needed a big catch Hill was his first target. The 6-foot-5, 206 pound receiver made his decision official on Wednesday.

“This was a life decision,” said Hill in an official release from Georgia Tech. “I came to the decision after talking with my family. I’m ready to move forward and work on getting better.

“I want to thank the coaching staff for helping me get to this level. I am thankful for Georgia Tech, my professors and definitely, the fans.”

Hill ranked ninth among ACC receivers with 820 yards in 2011, doing so with only 28 receptions. His 29.3 yards per reception led all FBS players, making the most of every opportunity in head coach Paul Johnson's run-friendly offensive scheme.

“Stephen feels that he is ready for the NFL and I know that is a dream of his,” Johnson said. “I hope that he is drafted high and does well as a professional.”

Hill has not hired an agent yet, but clearly has his mind set on gaining the interest of scouts in the coming months. With his size, speed, and athleticism he could be identified as both a great deep threat and red zone specialist. CBSSports.com has Hill ranked as the sixth best wide receiver in the 2013 class, and the coming weeks will tell how he stacks up against his new competition in the 2012 class.

Get caught up on the early-entry announcements HERE, and all the latest rankings, mock drafts, and breaking news check out the NFL Draft Home 

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Posted on: January 5, 2012 4:03 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2012 4:05 pm
 

Montee Ball is making a mistake

Posted by Tom Fornelli

On Thursday Wisconsin running back Montee Ball made the announcement that he would be coming back to Wisconsin for his senior season. A commendable decision by Ball considering the season he just had in Madison, finishing the year with 2,229 yards and 39 touchdowns, and going to New York as a Heisman finalist.

That being said, I don't think this is the right decision for Ball to make.

At the moment Ball is ranked as the sixth best 2012 NFL draft prospect amongst running backs by Rob Rang and 80th overall, and he'd likely be a middle round pick. Yes, it's possible that his draft stock will improve after staying at Wisconsin for another season, but that doesn't mean staying in school will help him have a longer, more successful pro career. In fact, it could seriously hinder his chances.

While there are some positions like quarterback where players are better served to stay in college and get another year of experience under their belts, running back is generally not one of those positions. This is due to the wear and tear that running backs endure during a season of football, on both the college and pro levels, and there aren't many programs that can wear down a back like Wisconsin.

A running back's legs only have so many miles on them. Sure, there are exceptions to this rule as we've seen in the past from guys like Emmitt Smith and Walter Payton, but backs like those two don't come around very often. For a glimpse of what does happen more frequently, Ball need not look past his own program and some of the great rushers in the school's history.

For example, there's Heisman Trophy winner and the NCAA's all-time leading rusher Ron Dayne. In his four seasons at Wisconsin Dayne carried the ball 1,220 times for 7,125 yards. In his seven NFL seasons after being a first round draft pick of the New York Giants in 2000, Dayne carried the ball 983 times for 3,722 yards. Dayne never had the success in the NFL that he had while at Wisconsin, and while that's partially due to his build -- Ron was never the slimmest guy around -- you can easly look at those 1,220 carries in college as a factor as well. There weren't many miles left on those legs by the time he joined the Giants.

More recently there was Ball's former teammate John Clay. Clay only played three seasons with the Badgers and had half as many carries as Dayne in his career with 629 rushes, but his legs began breaking down before he even left for the NFL. Clay went undrafted last April before signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers as a free agent. So far in his rookie season with the Steelers, Clay has carried the ball only 10 times. Yes, the jury is still out on his NFL career, but given that he wasn't even drafted and only saw time in Pittsburgh's backfield due to injuries, it's reasonable to think that Clay won't end up in Canton one day.

The good news for Ball is that while he carried the ball 307 times in 2011 -- more than Clay ever had in any season, and more than Dayne had in two seasons at Wisconsin -- he only had 261 rushes in his first two seasons in Madison. So there's plenty of tread left on the tires, but given that Russell Wilson will not be back in 2012, there's enough reason to believe that Ball's workload will only increase next year. Which would not be good news for his longevity.

The other bonus for Ball is that he's a lot smaller than both Dayne and Clay ever were, slimming down to 210 pounds for his junior season for the sole purpose of saving some wear and tear.

Still, given the history of some of Wisconsin's greatest running backs, it's pretty clear that if Ball is hoping to have a long and successful pro career, he should make the move sooner rather than later. Playing football is not a profession with a long shelf-life, especially for running backs, and if Ball wants to have a long professional career, he'd be better off starting it in 2012 rather than 2013.

Check out where Ball, and all the 2012 draft prospects rank on the CBSSports.com draft board, and follow all the news on early entrants here. 

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Posted on: January 5, 2012 4:02 pm
 

Montee Ball returning to Wisconsin

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It wasn't the world's best kept secret, but a day after word began leaking out that Wisconsin running back Montee Ball was planning on returning to Madison for his senior season, the running back made it official on Thursday.

Montee Ball will be a Wisconsin Badger in 2012.

This is great news for Wisconsin, obviously, as Ball was the key component of Wisconsin's offense in 2011, more so than quarterback Russell Wilson. Ball rushed for 1,923 yards and 33 touchdowns for Wisconsin this season, while catching another 24 passes for 306 yards and 6 more scores. His 39 touchdowns accounted for 234 of the 618 points the Badgers scored in their 2011 season, which ended earlier this week with a second consecutive Rose Bowl loss.

Ball could be even more important for the Badgers next season in their quest to get back to Pasadena for the third straight season, as Russell Wilson won't be back and a new quarterback will be under center. A new quarterback that would be well-served to turn around and hand the ball off to the 2011 Heisman finalist as many times as possible.

Had Ball decided to enter the NFL Draft, he would have gone in as the sixth-best running back according to CBSSports.com's Rob Rang, and 80th best prospect overall. Instead he'll be scoring more touchdowns and jumping around in Camp Randall for another season. 

Check out where all the 2012 draft prospects rank on the CBSSports.com draft board, and follow all the news on early entrants here. 

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com