Sure this is a conference with Heisman winner, Johnny Manziel and AJ McCarron who has won the last two BCS National Championships, but those players aren’t faced with the expectations of a hungry fan base that is expecting greatness in the second year under Hugh Freeze. Those two quarterbacks have shown they can handle the pressure and adversity that comes with playing quarterback in the best conference in America, but so far Wallace hasn’t shown he can be mentioned in the same class as them—yet.
I’m not predicting a Heisman or a National Championship for the Rebels, but if Wallace can make the next step in his development like I think he can, then the Rebels can challenge for a nine-win season and a New Year’s Day bowl game.
The rising junior is recovering from surgery on his collarbone and won’t be able to participate in spring practice, but he will be there to take “mental reps”, which I believe is more important in this stage of his development.
Wallace has the physical tools you look for in a quarterback, he’s 6-5, 220-pounds, is athletic enough to rush for yards when the pocket breaks down and has a live arm, but he needs to improve his decision-making in order to be an upper-echelon college quarterback. He needs to be immersed in the playbook and dominate film study like he would a workout or seven-on-seven drill and digest every word his coaches tell him while he’s on the sidelines.
In his first season as the starter he threw for 2,294 yards and 22 touchdowns and even rushed for eight more scores—but he also threw 17 interceptions. When he was making good decisions and not throwing the ball to the team in the other jersey, the Rebels could beat anybody. In the seven wins last season, Wallace only threw six interceptions. Conversely, in the Rebels six losses, he threw 11 interceptions and drove fans crazy.
The game at LSU was a perfect example of his helter-skelter play when he threw 310 yards and accounted for four touchdowns, but he also completed 42.8 percent of his passes and threw three costly interceptions in the six-point loss.
With another year of the emerging superstar, Donte Moncrief (who needs to be fed) and No. 1 wide receiver recruit, Laquon Treadwell split out wide, Wallace will have one of the best wide receiver duo’s in the country.
The mental reps he’ll receive this spring will be huge for his development as he enters his second year in this offense and that will be evident on Saturdays this fall.
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