Tiger Tight End Ready For Big Game Vs. Vols

Cooper Wallace is a key member of the Auburn offense.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn starting tight end Cooper Wallace, a Tennessee native, is looking forward to a visit to his home state Saturday as Auburn travels to Knoxville to take on the Tennessee Volunteers.

Wallace grew up in Nashville and was a standout for state champion Christ Presbyterian Academy at linebacker, defensive end, running back and tight end, but he wasn't offered a scholarship by Tennessee head coach Phillip Fulmer.

"I wanted to go there before I knew about other schools," Wallace says. "That's somewhere I definitely wanted to go, just growing up watching them. They've pretty much always had a good program and that's something I was interested in."

Cooper Wallace runs after a catch in practice.

He adds that the extent of his recruitment was "not any more than letters that everybody else gets." With the big-time ramifications on the outcome of Saturday's game, Wallace also says that the lack of recruitment by Tennessee doesn't add any extra motivation.

""Probably more motivation comes from watching them my whole life and knowing the swagger they carry," he says. "They've always ruled the state of Tennessee so it's kind of a homecoming."

The 6-4, 253-pound junior tight end has only caught four balls for 59 yards this season, but says he's satisfied with his role in the new Auburn offense.

"We've got a lot of (tight end) plays that we haven't run," Wallace says. "We haven't really had to run them yet. Against LSU we ran a few because we needed to. As long as we can run the ball, then we'll run the ball and I'll block. We've got the best running backs in the country. I know there are plenty of plays in there, but we just haven't run them yet."

Kickoff between 4-0 Auburn and 3-0 Tennessee is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. CDT and will be nationally televised on ESPN.

Wallace says that he has had many family members asking for tickets to the game, but he couldn't get enough for all of them. His parents as well as some of his cousins will be in attendance along with 100,000 more interested spectators.

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