Rated as the No. 16 athlete in the nation by 247Sports, Katy Tompkins HS running back Christian Wallace has been making waves in the state of Texas over the past few months. Already in possession of offers from Baylor, TCU, and Houston, Wallace took home another offer last Sunday – this time from Strong & Co.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>I got a offer by Texas today <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23blessed&src=hash">#blessed</a></p>— ✞☮✞ (@Kingwallace22) <a href="https://twitter.com/Kingwallace22/statuses/475790627355901952">June 9, 2014</a></blockquote>
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A consensus four-star prospect, Wallace plays at both the halfback and cornerback positions in high school - and has the talent and athleticism to play at either position in college as well. Standing at 6' 2" and weighing in at just under 200 lbs, the soon-to-be junior played at Sealy HS (the high school that brought the world this legend) during his freshman and sophomore seasons before transferring to Katy Tompkins in the fall. At the U.S. Army National Combine, Wallace ran a 4.57 s 40-yard dash and a 4.50 s shuttle, and had a 32-inch vertical jump. These impressive numbers will probably induce Texas to recruit him as a defensive back - rather than a speedy running back like Jordan Stevenson, a Texas commit since last October.
Wallace has taken minicamp visits to Texas, Baylor, TCU, and Texas A&M so far - a strong sign that the battle for his services will be an intrastate one. With that in mind, Wallace indicated that his visit to the 40 Acres had left a positive impression.
“My brother-in-law came with me and the campus is huge. I like it a lot and the stadium I have no words for. They (Texas coaches) were just asking were I wanted to go to college and I liked them all. Coach Strong seems like a pretty cool guy overall.”
As a running back, Wallace displays significant open-field elusiveness working out of the read option. He is at his best when given the ball in open space on zone read or HB toss plays, using his speed to shoot through gaps and around the edge. He relies on his quickness to elude defensive tackles and safeties alike - he cuts back to the middle of the field well, and can reverse direction very quickly. However, Wallace likely does not have the size and tackle-breaking ability to project as an every-down back - he would likely play a D.J. Monroe-type role on offense, working mostly out of the shotgun So don't expect him to be "pounding the rock" between the tackles at the collegiate level.
As a cornerback, Wallace has the ability to consistently high-point the ball and out-jump taller wide receivers - his ball awareness allows him to contest deep passes without drawing P.I. calls. Occasionally, Wallace does not turn his hips quickly enough in coverage, allowing faster WRs to get behind him. His speed and size should allow him to excel as a press corner, a skill that could prove to be invaluable in Coach Strong's defensive system. The Longhorns have already taken 2 running backs in the 2015 class (not counting Kirk Johnson, an athlete who can play either at running back or safety) and are actively pursuing a third. As a result, Wallace will likely be recruited as a cornerback or a wide receiver - although Wallace indicated after his offer that Texas offered him as an "athlete", without mentioning a specific position.
Want to make a positive impression on Charlie Strong? As a player, you need speed, athleticism, - and above all, a mean streak. Wallace seems to have all three qualities in spades, and his combination of athleticism and physical tools will make him a huge target for the Longhorns' coaching staff over the next year. Hopefully, he will jump at the chance to join DBU and continue the Texas tradition at defense.