(I had a picture of Bo Wallace here, but it was enormous and bothered me, so I deleted it).
Another relatively slow day in terms of Baylor news, and I apologize for not having this up this morning. Things have been pretty hectic for me today, but that's no excuse! My almost nonexistent loyal readers deserve their links!
Because I have so little to share this morning I'm going to go back to the more narrative approach and not just shotgun links at you. I still haven't decided what people actually like better. Anyway...
A couple of weeks ago I shared a highlight video from Youtube of a JUCO QB named Bo Wallace, who played this season at East Mississippi Community College in Scooba, Mississippi. Wallace essentially rewrote the NJCAA record books for passing this season, amassing 4604 passing yards, 53 TDs, and only 14 interceptions on the season. He also added 5 rushing TDs and 206 after-sack rushing yards on 61 carries (including sacks). In the NJCAA national championship game, Wallace threw for 7 TDs and led his team to its first national championship ever. After the season ended, he was honored as the 2011 NJCAA Offensive Player of the Year and was named as the first-team NJCAA All-American QB. When asked about Wallace, EMCC's coach said the following:
"He's the best quarterback I've seen in this league," Stephens said. "If a player like Bo can't make it at the next level then we probably need to stop playing junior college football in the state of Mississippi. Bo's a winner and that's defined by the fact he's won 28 straight games dating back to high school."
This is certainly a person of note, no?
Wallace's is an interesting story. At 6'4" and 185 lbs. coming out of high school (he's listed at 6'5", 210 now) in Pulaski, Tennessee, Wallace's only two scholarship offers (according to Rivals, which ranked him as a 5.4 RR 2* QB) came from Arkansas State and Tennessee Tech. There was some interest with Memphis during his initial recruitment out of high school, but he ended up signing a LOI with Arkansas State and attending for one semester before transferring to EMCC. Before he blew up the JUCO world this season, to describe the D1 interest in Wallace as "lukewarm" would be to redefine the term completely.
That is certainly not the story today.
Since we last spoke about Wallace two weeks ago, his recruitment has exploded just as I predicted it might. Where once he had offers only from Florida Atlantic, UAB, and Middle Tennessee State, Wallace's recruitment has now expanded to include an offer from Mississippi State, an official visit to Mississippi, interest from Baylor and Indiana and now Texas, and official visits this week to the last three schools named. Wallace is reportedly in Indiana today and will fly to Dallas tomorrow before spending Thursday and Friday in Waco and visiting Texas on Saturday. Wherever he goes, Wallace will have 3 years to play 3, meaning that redshirting is not a realistic option for him and he will probably want to start immediately.
To be honest, the reason that I decided to update about Wallace today is not that he will be visiting Baylor later this week; we've known that was going to happen for a while now. That is not news. Texas's interest, though, is. People ask me from time to time why I pay so much attention to what Texas does and who they recruit. Texas is the extremely rich guy that sits down at the poker table with you. He may not be as good at poker as he thinks, and he is certainly beatable, but if you frustrate him enough, he's going to start buying hands because he has more money than you do. You have to know what that guy is doing all the time even when he's not playing all that well.
That's Texas, and they don't normally recruit JUCO QBs. After this season, however, and with rumors swirling that Case McCoy might transfer and leave David Ash as the only QB on the roster with any playing experience whatsoever, it makes sense that they would look around. I like to think that they looked about 90 miles to the north, realized that if anybody knows QBs it is Art Briles of Baylor, whose last three QBs happen to be Robert Griffin III, Case Keenum, and Kevin Kolb, and decided to go after Bo Wallace. If Art Briles is interested in a JUCO QB from Mississippi, it probably makes sense for them to be, too. Whatever the motivation, that rich guy just sat down at the poker table and we have to pay attention to him.
We're probably going to know a lot more on Sunday night about Wallace's recruitment than we do right now. It's not guaranteed that he receives an offer from any of the three schools he is visiting this week, though I would bet he gets one from all three. If he does, it's not guaranteed that he commits to any of those three, either, the scuttlebutt being that he very nearly committed to Mississippi State just a few days ago. They may still be the leader in the clubhouse, we just don't know.
I would caution everyone who reads this-- Bear fans, Longhorns, or anyone else-- that Bo Wallace is almost certainly not going to be Cam Newton (he'll almost certainly be cheaper, for one thing). There may not ever be a Cam Newton, someone who can step right in from a JUCO and lead your team to the Promised Land, again. He could, however, make a difference for a school like Baylor, who, assuming RG3 goes pro as is widely expected, needs someone to challenge Nick Florence for the starter's spot next year, or Texas, who probably needs the same thing even more vis-à-vis David Ash.*
*This may anger Texas fans to realize, but as I thought about this topic, I came to the conclusion that even without RG3, Baylor's QB situation is almost certainly better off at this point in time, before the recruits sign in February, than Texas's. I would take Nick Florence over David Ash 10 times out of 10 for 2012. Does that help Texas land Bo Wallace? Does it even matter? I have no idea.
UPDATE: UT has apparently offered Bo Wallace, so they're serious about wanting him. I'm not getting that just from Rivals, either, I've seen it confirmed on two separate recruiting sites (one Baylor, one UT).
An offer today is interesting for a few reasons. First and foremost, Mack Brown typically offers scholarships himself, in person, on a recruit's visit to the school. I don't know of the last time UT offered a scholarship basically sight-unseen to a JUCO QB before he ever visited the school. One possibility here is that Wallace threatened not to come unless he was sure of an offer, so UT gave it to him to entice him to visit. They'll then make the Ultimatum(TM) on Saturday if/when he visits. If true, and I don't know for sure that it is, obviously, that would be a very smart play by Wallace to pressure UT like that. Very smart, indeed.
UPDATE #2: Indiana offered while Bo was on his official visit today. Also, Bo's visit to Baylor has been confirmed for Friday.
Now on to the rest of the links after the jump...
Because I just looked it up, for those that were wondering when our MBB team plays next, it's Saturday at Billy Clyde's Texas Tech team (7-5 on the season). Other notes about Big XII basketball come to us today courtesy of our friends over at BurntOrangeNation, who took a look yesterday at the Longhorn's chances of winning 10 conference games this season, and ESPN.com, which did much of the same thing. I need to de-Texify this DBR, I'm getting nauseous.
Other news worthy of note in basketball comes from Missouri, who lost one of their last three remaining players taller than 6'6" to transfer. ESPN says Missouri is now one of the smallest teams in the country and analyzes how that could affect their chances to go deep in the tournament. The Austin-American Statesman also got in on the Big XII basketball frenzyy with a power poll of the conference as of today and a look forward to the conference season.
For a little bit of Baylor news, ESPN.com talks about how Baylor is continually winning ugly, something you probably couldn't have said about Scott Drew's teams in the past. If something was ugly, it was probably the losses. Baylor has played a number of close games this season, which could imply a certain amount of luck, and has relied on defense rather than offense to finish opponents off in crunch time.
Finally, because I like giving attention to the smaller sports from time to time when Baylor gets good press, the rankings for men's and women's tennis debuted today with Baylor as #5 and #6, respectively. Add that to our #1 WBB, #5 MBB, and possible, though not likely, top ten football and you've got an impressive collection of teams.
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