University of Wisconsin running back Montee Ball, a Heisman Trophy finalist last season, was hospitalized after being attacked by five men in what police are investigating as an “unprovoked assault.”
Ball, a 21-year-old senior who led college football’s top level with 1,923 rushing yards and 39 touchdowns last season, is expected to make a full recovery, coach Bret Bielema said.
Ball was jumped by five unidentified men while walking on University Avenue at 2:15 a.m. today, according to an incident report from the City of Madison, Wisconsin, police department. He was knocked to the ground and kicked by the men, who then ran south toward the Kohl Center, where the school’s basketball and hockey teams play.
Ball was taken to a hospital with head injuries and later released. Police said it doesn’t appear that Ball, who is now under the care and supervision of the school’s sports medicine staff, knew his attackers.
“My concern right now is for Montee’s health and well-being,” Bielema said in a statement. “We will continue to evaluate him as we approach the start of fall camp this weekend. I do expect Montee to make a full recovery.”
Ball tied the National Collegiate Athletic Association record last season with his 39 touchdowns, 33 of which were rushing scores, in leading the Badgers to their second straight Big Ten Conference title and Rose Bowl berth. He enters this season needing 18 touchdowns to become the nation’s all-time leader.