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CFB Roundup: Wisconsin's Ball assaulted, Penn State loses two more players

The SportsXchange

--Wisconsin senior running back Montee Ball, a 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist, was hospitalized after he was a victim of an "unprovoked assault" early Wednesday morning.

Ball was released from the hospital and the school did not disclose the severity of his injuries, but the police report said Ball suffered head injuries.

"My concern right now is for Montee's health and well-being," Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema said in the release. "Montee has been released from the hospital and is under the care and supervision of our sports medicine staff. 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 was considered a first-round caliber back after his junior season in 2011 but opted to return to the reigning Big Ten champions.

The police report on the City of Madison (Wisc.) web site lists the details of the incident as follows:

"A 21-year old man was attacked while walking in the 500 block of University Ave. early this morning," the report reads. "Witnesses said five men jumped the victim. He was knocked to the ground and kicked. The victim was taken to a hospital with head injuries. It does not appear he knew his attackers and this is being investigated as an unprovoked assault. The criminals were last seen running south on N. Frances St. toward the Kohl Center."

--Penn State linebacker Khairi Fortt and backup quarterback Rob Bolden have officially transferred.

Bolden landed at LSU, coach Les Miles confirmed, and completed the process officially Wednesday afternoon.

Fortt will play at Cal. A junior competing for the starting middle linebacker job at Penn State, he was rumored to be joining the Golden Bears early Monday, but his father denied Fortt planned to transfer. Fortt said Wednesday his decision was about his future, not about Penn State's past.

"I wanted to take a leap of faith and trust in God," Fortt told the Stamford (Conn.) Advocate. "This is what's right for me and my family."

Cal uses mostly a 3-4 defensive front but Fortt, 6-2, 235, should be a good fit in the scheme. In his two best games last season, Fortt got a chance to blitz and produced 2.5 total sacks against Iowa and Houston (TicketCity Bowl).

Bolden joins an LSU roster with very good depth at quarterback, including junior starter Zach Mettenberger. The dual-threat quarterback started as a freshman in 2010 but would have been a backup to Matt McGloin for a second consecutive season at Penn State.

Junior running back Silas Redd, the team's leading rusher in 2011 and arguably Penn State's most accomplished playmaker on offense, announced Tuesday he was transferring to Southern Cal.

Most incoming recruits have affirmed their commitment to coach Bill O'Brien despite prohibitive sanctions levied by the NCAA that will reduce scholarships and keep the Nittany Lions out of the postseason for the next four seasons.

--Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz dismissed running back DeAndre Johnson from the program.

Johnson was suspended Sunday after two arrests in five days.

"I am disappointed that things didn't work out better for De'Andre," Ferentz said. "We wish him all the best moving forward."

Johnson was ticketed for driving 60 mph in a 25 mph zone Saturday and cited for eluding arrest because he didn't immediately yield to officers.

That came after Johnson was issued a citation in Iowa City for maintaining a disorderly house stemming from repeated noise complaints.

Iowa's running back depth is perilous if unproven.

Junior walk-on Andre Dawson and two incoming freshmen -- Greg Garmon and Barkley Hill -- are in the running to start but have everything to prove in fall camp. Hill rushed for 6,127 yards and 89 touchdowns in high school. Garmon was arrested in June and charged with drug paraphernalia possession, but Ferentz said he wasn't suspended because it was his first offense.

--Oklahoma's volatile roster underwent more major changes Wednesday, when three suspended players were reinstated by coach Bob Stoops and senior three-year starting center Ben Habern decided to give up football because of neck and back injuries.

Habern was a preseason All-Big 12 selection and represented Oklahoma at Big 12 Media Days, when he said he worked out all summer to get back to 100 percent but said "Anytime you deal with a neck, it'd kind of freaky, just kind of knowing what goes along with your neck and how important it is."

Habern had neck surgery in January. The veteran of 30 career starts missed time last season with a fracture forearm. Oklahoma goes into the season with Gabe Ikard already having some training at the position after he slid over from guard in 2011.

Junior wide receivers Trey Franks and Jaz Reynolds and sophomore defensive back Quentin Hayes were all on the 2012 preseason roster but aren't yet cleared to participate in any games, Stoops said. They were suspended along with sophomore wide receiver Kameel Jackson -- who wasn't reinstated Wednesday -- on May 9 for violating team rules.

Reynolds had 41 receptions for 715 yards last season and Franks, who is the team's most dangerous kick returner, is expected to have a bigger role in the offense in 2012. Franks was also suspended last season and missed two games for violating team rules.

--Attorney Joe Amendola spoke publicly for the first time since Jerry Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of child sex abuse on June 22 and said the former Penn State coach was "distraught" over news of the NCAA's sanctions against the football program.

"He's extremely distraught about what's happened at Penn State," Amendola said Wednesday at the Centre County Courthouse, according to the Centre Daily Times. "He never, never dreamed that anything he was accused of doing would have this type of impact on Penn State -- not only athletics, but the university as a whole."

Sandusky maintains he is innocent of charges, Amendola said, but is scheduled to be sentenced in September. No date has been set. Sandusky has received informational updates from Amendola, who has filed an appeal formally.

While awaiting his next appearance, Sandusky will remain at Centre County Correctional Facility and is writing his version of the events about which eight victims testified during his June trial. He will make a statement at sentencing, according to Amendola.

"He's hopeful that he'll get a new trial on appeal," Amendola said, adding that Sandusky is generally in "good spirits."

--Ohio State freshman running back Bri'onte Dunn was charged Wednesday with misdemeanor disorderly conduct and two moving violations, but avoided possible charges of possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia stemming from a traffic stop Saturday in Alliance, Ohio.

A police report states that Dunn nearly ran a flashing red light, drove through a crosswalk and narrowly missed striking a patrol car. He and a passenger were in possession of a wooden pipe and marijuana was found on the seat cushions, floorboard and in the door pocket, according to the report.

The disorderly conduct charge is a result of going through a traffic stop and nearly causing an impact collision.

Dunn was driving his mother's car when he was stopped and denied knowing there was marijuana or drug paraphernalia in the vehicle.

Dunn, 19, enrolled early at Ohio State and is expected to contribute to an offense that lacks depth at the position and will be without projected first-team tailback Jordan Hall (foot) for part of September. Sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller is the team's leading returning rusher.

Head coach Urban Meyer and Ohio State did not immediately comment on the arrest. The Buckeyes are set to begin fall practice Friday.

Linebacker Storm Klein was dismissed from the team following his arrest for domestic violence and assault.

--LSU enters the 2012 season as the No. 1 ranked team in the nation in The Sporting News' annual college football preseason Top 25.

The Tigers were also the top-ranked team in TSN's 2011 rankings and finished the season 13-1, with their only loss coming to Alabama in the BCS national championship game.

USC and Alabama are listed second and third, respectively. No team can match the Trojans' array of skill-position talent, which includes senior quarterback Matt Barkely, junior running back Silas Redd and two standout wide receivers -- Robert Woods and Marqise Lee.

Oklahoma is ranked fourth ahead of Virginia Tech, Kansas State, Florida State, Michigan, South Carolina and Texas.

--Florida State dismissed cornerback Greg Reid Wednesday in a single-line release that included no comment from the school or coach Jimbo Fisher.

Reid was charged in June with misdemeanor possession of marijuana and driving with a suspended license, his second arrest in less than a year. Charges for resisting arrest and perjury, stemming from a case that involved a friend who was using Reid's scooter, were eventually dropped.

A three-year starter at cornerback, Reid's kick-return skills earned him All-Atlantic Coast Conference notice.

Reid served a one-game suspension for violating team rules, sitting out the 2011 season opener against Charleston Southern.

If Reid transfers to a lower-division school, he would be eligible to play immediately. Should he opt to use the redshirt year he has available to remain at the FBS level, he must sit out the 2012 season.
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