Role Model

Dudley E. Dawson chats with Bentonviille tailback Tearris Wallace (5-10, 208) about his Wednesday meeting with CBS college football analyst and former Oklahoma All-American Spencer Tillman as well as the Tigers' fast start this season.

Just minutes after Spencer Tillman finished his speech Wednesday at the Northwest Arkansas Touchdown Club, Hawgs Illustrated publisher Clay Henry made sure there was a meeting of the past and the present.

Henry covered Tillman (5-11, 206) in high school before he became an Oklahoma University All-American running back, an NFL player for seven seasons and currently a CBS college football analyst.

He has also seen Bentonville running back Tearris Wallace (5-10, 208) on the gridiron and noted that two possess similar running styles.

"They told me he was an All-American and it is always an honor to be in the presence of an All-American," said Wallace, who Tillman gave his phone number. "That inspires me a lot. It is what I want to do. I want to be as successful as I can at the collegiate level when I get there."

Wallace - on hand to accept the NWTD Club's Player of the Week award - is also very impressed with how Tillman has positioned himself as an analyst, inspirational speaker and successful businessman after he finished an NFL career that includes four seasons with the Houston Oilers and three with the San Francisco 49ers.

He was a captain for the 49ers when they won the Super Bowl on Jan. 28, 1990.

"He is very, very well-spoken," Wallace said. "I kind of stuttered a little bit on mine, but he went up there and breezed through and answered questions off the fly. That's what I want to imitate when I get older."

Wallace – who has offers from Memphis and Air Force and interest from Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Arkansas - rushed for 119 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-6 win over South Panola (Miss) last weekend.

He has totaled 467 yards in the Tigers' 3-0 start so far – one sparked by a loss to Fayettevllle on the last play of last season's 7A state championship game.

"The loss impacted us a lot," Wallace said. "We were upset about it, but it fueled us in the offseason. We came in there with goals in mind and we want to accomplish every one of them. One starting off was winning all the non-conference games, then to go out and win the conference and get to the playoffs and then win that."

Bentonville, who has also downed Broken Arrow (OK) and Kansas City (MO) Rockhurst, will visit Springdale Har-Ber Friday night for a key 7A West clash.

"We have to go out there and play hard," Wallace said. "We always try to get our preparation in early and start off the week by really looking over the depth chart, watching film, getting our run scheme ready, our pass scheme ready. Just preparing to the best of our ability."

Most fans and recruiting analysts who have seen Wallace the past three seasons don't understand why Memphis and Air Force are the only two Division I schools to offer him so far."

"I don't really stress about it too much," Wallace said. "I am committed to the Bentonville Tigers this season. I am just focused on all my teammates back in Bentonville and I will worry about that later."

Vanderbilt seems to be showing more interest lately.

"I was on the phone yesterday evening with Vanderbilt and we are getting my three-game highlight tape ready for the running back coaches there," Wallace said. "We'll see what happens there."

It's no secret that Wallace would love to have an offer from Arkansas, a place he regularly attends home games.

The Razorbacks have a commitment from Denham Springs (LA) tailback Kaleb Blanchard (6-1, 210, 4.4) and are still pursuing North Little Rock star and Alabama commit Altee Tenpenny (6-0, 211, 4.32).

"It's SEC football and I would always be interested in that," Wallace said. "I am just going to keep playing my heart out every Friday night and hopefully great things will happen. I would love to stay local."

Tearris Wallace

Tearris Wallace

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