Weeks of speculation about whether Texas would pursue a JUCO or graduate transfer quarterback to compete for the starting job in 2012 can now be put to rest after Orangebloods broke the news on Tuesday that East Mississippi Community College quarterback Bo Wallace is planning a trip to Austin ($).
While the details had not been finalized as of Tuesday evening, Wallace told Orangebloods that he is planning on speaking with Texas co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin on Wednesday after the assistant coach reached out to Wallace's coaches to gauge the star quarterback's interest in the Longhorns. According to a report from Hookem.com, that phone call happened after Wallace spoke with Orangebloods and resulted in Harsin extending an offer ($) to Wallace.
As far as that interest is concerned, Wallace indicated that if he does indeed visit Texas, the Longhorns would "go straight to the top" of his current list, which includes Indiana, Baylor, and Ole Miss, with Mississippi State the most recent school to offer. The former Arkansas State quarterback is embarking on a wild week that will see him visit Indiana and Baylor, with the plan right now being to make short trip down to Austin from Waco on Saturday after his visit to Baylor.
If the visit goes well, the Longhorns appear to be in a strong position to land Wallace, who has in the past expressed an interest in playing in the SEC.
The NJCAA Offensive Player of the Year and top JUCO quarterback in the country after setting single-season records for passing yards, total offense, and touchdowns, Wallace helped lead EMCC to the junior college national championship and threw for seven touchdown passes in four different games while teaming with current Longhorn commit Brandon Moore. A state champion in high school as well, Wallace was a lightly-recruited two-star recruit who chose Arkansas State over offers from Tennessee Tech and Tennessee-Martin despite being named Tennessee Mr. Football as a senior. Wallace left Arkansas State after one season and will have three years of eligibility remaining.
The numbers Wallace put up in his year at EMCC are certainly impressive, but after watching both his high school and junior college film, his ability to adjust his mechanics by shortening his release and taking out a hitch at the top of his delivery speaks well to his coachability. As a result, the ball now jumps out of his hand better, though he doesn't consistently spin the ball as well as David Ash.
If there's a major concern with Wallace, it is in how quickly he can make the transition to major-college football, especially with his decision-making. His highlight reel from the 2011 season suggests that he has something of a gunslinger mentality, as he had a tendency to throw the ball up for grabs when pressured and was often bailed out by a strong receiving corps. Especially when he had pressure in his face, Wallace's footwork often broke down, leading to major decreases in velocity -- though Wallace has acceptable arm strength, he doesn't have the arm strength to make up for breakdowns with his footwork.
If Wallace does choose Texas, he will be able to enroll this month and participate in spring practice, necessary since he may only have a small window to win the job if David Ash improves before the 2012 season starts. The thought here is that Wallace will need some time to transition to the college game and could struggle with his decision-making, a significant issue since the Longhorns are setting up to be a team that relies on the running game and a strong defense next season, which will place a premium on avoiding turnovers from the quarterback position.
The decision to offer Wallace weeks after head coach Mack Brown said it was unlikely that the Longhorns would pursue a junior college or graduate transfer quarterback could be a sign that Case McCoy is on his way out of the program after not receiving a single snap in the Holiday Bowl, despite Brown indicating multiple times before the game that both quarterbacks would play.
If McCoy does depart, that would leave Texas dangerously thin at the quarterback position with only the two incoming freshmen behind Ash and make taking a third quarterback in the 2012 class a virtual necessity. Right now, it looks like Wallace may be that guy.