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Getting to know the 2011 Oregon Duck newcomers: Anthony Wallace

Anthony Wallace

LB – 6-0, 221, 4.55
Dallas, Texas (Skyline HS)

2010 Stats: 115 tackles and earned honorable mention All-State distinction at linebacker in 2010 (90 tackles in 2009)
Team Record: 9-3 7-0 league, league champions, lost to DeSoto, 38-0, in the area round of the Class 5A Division I Region II playoffs.
GPA: 3.5
Rivals: #4 ILB, Rating 5.8, National 112, Rivals 250
Scout: #4 MLB
ESPN:  #7 MLB, Grade 81, ESPN 150

Anthony Wallace had a lot of options.  He was offered scholarships by an honor roll of football schools, including LSU, Miami, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas, USC, Penn State, Notre Dame, Stanford, Auburn, Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee.

He’s been training to be a football player since he was 6. Rainier Sabin of The Dallas Morning News related the story in a February 2010 interview:

Even back then, he demonstrated natural ability and a love of contact. His father, Anthony Sr., played middle linebacker at Texas Southern and began to groom his son to man that same position at age 6.

Together, they spent summers doing calisthenics and drills that sharpened Wallace’ instincts and enhanced his skills. If there was a weak area in his game, they would diagnose it and fix it. Over time, Wallace became a well-oiled machine who “loves just hitting,” he said. He now is 6-2, weighs 220 pounds and can cover 40 yards in 4.55 seconds.

“It’s been a joy to watch,” said Anthony Sr. “I think he will do better in the sport than I did.”

The younger Wallace doesn’t talk much.  He’s a quiet kid in the locker room and off the field, a serious student with a 3.5 G.P.A. who chose Oregon partly for their Sports Marketing Program. Skyline coach Reginald Samples told Sabin, “He’s so quiet that you don’t know that he’s around, until he puts his helmet on.”

He’s modest, the reporter observed, and goes out of his way to deflect praise and share credit with teammates.  Easy to do because he’s played alongside some high-profile linebackers at Skyline,  including Oklahoma signee Corey Nelson and Texas A&M signee Domonique Patterson his junior year, Franklin Shannon and Michael Moore with Oklahoma and Kansas State as seniors.

On the field, Anthony is a mobile linebacker who loves to hit, a crushing, technically perfect tackler.  He ranges and fills holes.  He can drop deep into coverage.  His father and the sophisticated high school program run by Samples, one of the elites of Texas 5A football, has given him a strong understanding of coverages, defenses, responsibilites.

His team opened last season with a nationally televised game against St. Thomas Aquinas of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the Kirk Herbstreit National Kickoff Classic at Cowboys Stadium.  His team lost to the powerhouse from Florida 31-3, but Wallace played well:

Image for MaxPreps Video.

Wallace has a little bit of baby fat, but he’s diligent in the gym and will get stronger. He has the frame and background to play right away, and as this footage shows, he’s used to high profile games and big stages.  He’s been training for this all his life, a passionate, complete football player with the potential to be a star.  His high school coach told Corbett Smth of the Dallas Morning News, “He’s going to find the ball. He’s going to make plays. He lets you know he’s on the field by what he does.”  Picture a linebacker with the pedigree and work ethic of Casey Matthews, but with more speed and athletic ability.