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Tracking the Stars of the Future

Football Recruiting Report
Monday, July 31, 2006

By Sammy Batten

Offensive Analysis  •  Defensive Analysis  •  Profiles

QB's & Receivers  •  O-Linemen & RB's  •  Profiles

Film reveals hidden gem to Pirate recruiters

Strong ECU ties smooth the way for late-blossoming S. Alamance gridder Devon Wallace to commit


Even those of you who follow college football recruiting with fervor may not have heard of Devon Wallace.

That’s because East Carolina’s latest commitment has only played one season of varsity football at Southern Alamance High School in Graham. Wallace was such an unknown that even the Pirate coaching staff had to be tipped off about his talent.

“Southern Alamance hasn’t always been a stop for the Division I coaches,’’ head coach Tony Perrou said. “So I sent out a lot of film. They (ECU) got the film and were probably at our school a week later.’’

It didn’t take ECU defensive backs coach Rick Smith long to convince the 6-foot-2, 195-pound safety-wide receiver to join the Pirates recruiting Class of 2007. Wallace already had deep ties to the ECU program that made the decision an easy one.

Former Pirate defensive back Tabari "Snoop" Wallace (1994-97) is Devon’s uncle and current tight end Davon Drew is a childhood friend from New Bern. Wallace actually lived in New Bern until the summer of 2005 when he moved to Alamance County with his father.

“I guess I’ve always wanted to be a Pirate,’’ Wallace said. “My uncle went there, so I’ve been to quite a few games there. It’s just in my blood.’’

Football is also in Wallace’s blood. In addition to his uncle, his father Carnell was a college cornerback at Winston-Salem State.

But in the initial stages of his own football career Wallace wasn’t sure he had a future in the game.

He played on the junior varsity team at New Bern High as a freshman, and performed well enough at a variety of positions to earn a promotion to the varsity at the end of the season. But during contact drills with the varsity players Wallace was overwhelmed.

“I felt like I was picking myself up (off the ground) all the time,’’ Wallace said. “I was real small back then, like 5-9 and about 160 pounds. And I didn’t gain any weight the summer before my sophomore year, so I told myself I wasn’t going to play anymore football.’’

Wallace kept that promise for a while, sitting out his sophomore season at New Bern.

But when the family relocated to Alamance County, Wallace’s father began encouraging him to play again.

“He made me realize I could be good at football when we got here to Southern,’’ Wallace said. “It was hard coming back. But my father helped me train and get back into the shape I needed to be in.’’

Perrou realized immediately when Wallace reported for Southern Alamance’s off-season workout program that he’d received a significant new addition to his team.

“We knew he was a really good athlete right away,’’ Perrou said. “What we didn’t know was how good his character was. He’s a great young man. He’s real active in his church, and in the youth activities at his church. He works real hard in the classroom. Devon is just a great young man.’’

Perrou used Wallace in many ways last season en route to a 7-5 finish. Wallace played quarterback, running back and wide receiver at various times during the year. He finished the season with about 400 yards rushing and 320 receiving.

Wallace, who has 4.5 40 speed, is expected to be used primarily at wide receiver and safety this season.

Although Wallace prefers playing wide receiver, he said the Pirates expect to use him at safety.

“I would have preferred playing wide receiver, but it’s all good,’’ Wallace said. “My (ECU) coach was saying they thought I could be at least third team (at safety) when I come in.’’

And what talents will Wallace add to the ECU secondary situation?

“Probably, I’d say great speed and awareness,’’ he said. “I also have the ability to read the quarterback. Having played quarterback myself I’m used to looking somebody off and all that. So I recognize that happening when I see it. I think I can compete with whoever I go up against.’’

Perrou believes ECU has discovered a diamond-in-the-rough in Wallace.

“He’s flown under the radar because last year was his first year playing,’’ Perrou said. “But he’s a super athlete who I think will make the rest of the schools who wanted to wait and see him play as a senior wish they had offered him earlier.’’

Wallace is the fourth known commitment for the Pirates, joining Charlotte quarterback D.J. McFadden, Jacksonville linebacker Austin Haynes and Norfolk, VA, linebacker Steve Spence.

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02/23/2007 02:37:41 PM


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