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Surveying the Recruits: Jonathan Wallace

Introducing something somewhat resembling a spiritual successor to WBE’s Google Surveys the Recruits. Just like the good old days, we’ll scour the Internet for any kind of links or notes regarding a featured 2012 signee, and mix it together along with a fair share of opinion in order to give some insight on what to expect from these incoming freshmen in the fall — and hopefully provide you with some easy summer reading.

J-Wall wrecking fools in Class 6A-Region 3.

When a local three-star quarterback made the surprise switch from UCF to Auburn on National Signing Day, a lot of people had never heard of the Central-Phenix City prospect.

I actually had. I was fortunate enough to have been able to cover Jonathan Wallace and the Central Red Devils two times last fall.

So after seeing Wallace in person, was the Auburn coaching staff’s eleventh-hour offer to pick up the dual-threat prospect worth it?

The short answer is yes. The long answer is below.

THE ESSENTIALS: Auburn’s AUfficial signing day bio is always a good place to start:

QB, 6-2, 205
Phenix City, AL (Central)
High School Coach: Woodrow Lowe

HIGH SCHOOL: No. 20 on the Birmingham News 2012 Super Seniors Best of the Rest. Passed for 1,761 yards and 12 TDs and ran for 891 yards and 28 TDs as a senior leading Central to a 12-2 season, making it to the semifinals of the 6A AHSAA playoffs. Selected as the Ledger-Enquirer All-Bi-City Co-Offensive Player of the Year as a senior. Played in the 2011 Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Game following his senior season.

Wallace doesn’t have the size to turn heads like fellow signee Zeke Pike, as he’ll be more comparable to Kiehl Frazier’s 6-2, 220 frame after a few weeks in the weight room. But, as you can see, Wallace had plenty of success on the field in high school, accounting for 40 total TDs during his senior season in Alabama’s largest public school classification. Central fell in the 6A Final Four to eventual state-champion Prattville.

ANALYST’S ANALYSIS: Wallace’s evaluation by the recruiting experts was about as consensus as it can get, as all four major services listed him as a three-star prospect. Rivals named Wallace the 25th-best dual-threat nationally and had him rated as the 28th-best recruit in the state of Alabama. 247’s analysis was even more favorable, as they have him as 16th-overall dual-threat and as the 24th-best prospect in the state.

Meanwhile, Scout and ESPN, who didn’t separate quarterbacks into pocket passers or dual-threats in their rankings, naturally had Wallace a little lower on their lists. Scout named him the 69th-best quarterback nationally, while ESPN had him as the 63rd-best quarterback overall and as the 35th best player in the state.

LINKS OF POTENTIAL INTEREST: While it was mentioned earlier that Wallace was named as the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer’s Co-Offensive Player of the Year during their All-Bi-City selection, Wallace was also named the Opelika-Auburn News’ sole Offensive Player of the Year. You can check out Jason Galloway’s very worthwhile story on the honor right here. It includes some interesting tidbits:

The Central coaching staff called a passing play and a running play before each snap. It was Wallace’s call to pick which one would be more successful after studying the defense.

“That’s my first time hearing of a guy in high school that can make that kind of decision,” Lowe said. “He’s able to look over and see the defense.”

Although Wallace admitted that was key to making the Red Devils’ offense as prolific as it was, he didn’t view his pre-snap decision making as uniquely as Lowe did.

“We ran our offense like we had two plays in one — that’s one of the big things about our offense this year,” Wallace said. “If you have the type of players that are mature enough to understand what the coaches want to get accomplished, I believe any high school can do that. It just depends on what type of players you have.”

The type of players Central had offensively this season were the best the school has seen in a long time.

Meanwhile, back with the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer crew, Joel Erickson put together a nice signee profile for Wallace on National Signing which you can see right here, including his own take on Wallace after having covered Central on Friday nights. Here’s Joel:

Wallace is an athletic dual-threat quarterback. As a runner, he has plenty of speed and vision, and he likes to finish off runs by diving for the marker. Wallace also has a big, strong arm, but he didn’t have to throw the ball much in a lot of games because Central-Phenix City was up by so much. A smart, well-spoken kid, Wallace also has plenty of toughness. If his accuracy improves, Wallace could be a steal.

The papers were also all over Wallace’s signing, with features from National Signing Day with notes and quotes that are well worth your time. Here’s OA-News’s and here’s the CLE’s.

HIGHLIGHTS: But what you’re here for are the highlights, and we’ve got them. First up is the longest Wallace reel out there, giving us nearly nine minutes of hot Wallace action. Audio might be NSFW:

247 has a free video with perhaps some of those plays in higher quality right here. You can find yet another video here, and, as always, there’s the AUfficial signing day video uploaded to YouTube right here.

WHAT’S NEXT?: After taking a closer look, it’s safe to say that Wallace was indeed a solid pick-up. Many were scratching their heads when Chizik and company sent a last-minute offer to a three-star quarterback after having already brought in Zeke Pike with this class, but Wallace is the classic “high-upside” prospect with lot of potential ahead of him and plenty of room to grow.

In the immediate future, if Scot Loeffler decides to keep around the Wildcat/running-quarterback spot that Kiehl Frazier held last season, Wallace could be a perfect candidate to bring a different dimension to the offense and bring about a change of pace. Wallace is a downhill runner, who runs with strong legs and the mind of a runningback. He’s always falling forward and could pick up those tough first downs if Loeffler calls on him.

But Wallace is coming to Auburn as a quarterback, not an “athlete,” and he has full intentions of taking snaps as the starter in Jordan-Hare Stadium someday. And while he might seem set as a disadvantage against Frazier, Pike, and Clint Moseley, the truth is that with Loeffler there are no preconceived ntions, making the race to become Auburn’s quarterback of the future is wide open.

For Wallace, it was a no-brainer to make the last minute switch from UCF, to stay at home at his dream school, earn a fine degree from a big-time school, and compete in the Southeastern Conference.

For Gene Chizik’s staff, picking up Wallace was well worth the couple of minutes spent recruiting him.

Photo via.

Related: Krootin’: Irvin-Sills and Jackson commit.

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