Indy LB Jordan Wallace Loves Illini Visit

The Fighting Illini football team hosted brothers from Warren Central in Indianapolis recently. They are a package deal and are high on the Illini, but one has an offer while the other doesn't at this point. Jordan Wallace shares the impression he and his brother Kevin Davis have of the Illinois football program and its coaching staff.

Jordan Wallace is a middle linebacker from Indianapolis. A junior at Warren Central High School, was a key contributor on the Warriors's defense. His strong play helped propel them to an 8-2 record on the season.

Warren Central grabbed the No. 1 seed in the 5A Sectionals but fell in the first round to No. 6 seed Lawrence Central. Wallace, while thankful for the great season he had, was extremely disappointed in the early exit.

"My last season went really well," said Wallace. "I led the team in tackles with 97, 68 solo tackles. I also had a fumble recovery and return for 25 yards. My team was ranked 22 in the country but got knocked out in the first round. We were one-and-done, and I promise you that will never happen again."

Looking forward to next season, Wallace once again expects his team to perform at a high level. He has already set lofty goals upon him and his teammates.

"As a team, I want to win a state championship and a national championship. It's very possible because we have 10 Division 1 guys, and we will be ranked in the preseason top 10. That's what's expected of us right now."

The 6'-1", 218 pounder knows these goals cannot be accomplished without his help.

"I need to do all I can to lead the whole defense like I can. Being the quarterback of the defense puts a lot of pressure on me, but I've been around those guys since we were little kids. I just need to do my part as a player and help my team win a state and national championship."

Wallace currently has offers from Illinois, Indiana, Pittsburgh, Bowling Green, Toledo and Western Michigan. He shares what he and college coaches consider his strengths as a player.

"I read well, so I can know where the play is going before it starts. I do a great job recognizing formations and those types of things. I also close in on plays quick and can change directions.

"Out of all my attributes, though, leadership is the best one I have. That's the feedback I have been getting from coaches—they like my leadership. I'm the kind of guy they need to come to their program. That's something that Coach (Vic) Koenning and Coach (Ron) Zook have been telling me as well."

However, Wallace was quick to admit that he does have weaknesses within his game. He knows several things that he will need to work on before he reaches the collegiate level.

"I need to work on getting a lot stronger. I felt like my strength was all right last year, but since then I have been improving. My bench is up to 330 now and it was around 285 during the season. My squat is going up a lot also.

"Another thing I need to work on is using my hands more and being more explosive at the point of contact with the ball carrier. That way they can feel my power."

Wallace traveled to Champaign last Saturday to witness one of Illinois's spring practices. He walked away impressed.

"The visit was great. My family and brother Kevin Davis were there with me. I got to sit down and talk with the coaching staff, get to know them better and learn what kind of people they are—they're all great.

"Another thing that I noticed was they were really down-to-earth and honest. I got a really good vibe from the coaching staff."

One thing that really stood out to Wallace about the coaches was the emphasis they place on faith.

"What impressed my family the most was how they talked a lot about faith and God. That really stood out to me and my family. The whole spirit of the place was great and knowing what they're trying to do. It was just a really great visit.

"The coaches actually recited a few Bible scriptures to me and my brother, and we looked at each other and just said, ‘wow.' Those are one of the few coaches I have met that talked about having faith and that everything will work out."

Wallace is not only impressed with the coaching staff at Illinois, but he also has a very positive sense of the football program as well.

"I think (Illinois) is finally over the hump. They went into a slump after the Rose Bowl. Coach Zook told me that they were finally over that hump, so I sat down and evaluated it and got the feeling they truly are.

"I think they are ready to go. They are going to be considered a big school in the Big Ten, and they will be a team that schools are going to have to worry about on their schedule. I don't have a number one or number two yet, but Illinois is definitely towards the top for me."

As much as Wallace is interested in Illinois, there may be something that could prevent him from committing to Illinois if that's what he wants. Wallace's brother will have a major impact on where he chooses to attend college.

"My brother and I want to go to the same college. He has been there for me my whole life, I've been there for him, and we're just a family that loves to stick together. We both have aspirations of doing great things in college and going to the NFL. I want to win a national championship, and if that were to happen, it will make it so much better with my brother.

"I am more of an outgoing person, where he is more of a quiet person. We basically just balance each other out, so it's almost a need for us to go to the same place. We've been advertising ourselves as a package deal."

Davis is a 5'-11", 175-pound wide receiver who has compiled offers from Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Indiana, Purdue, Pitt, Toledo, and Western Michigan. Wallace shares some of his thoughts on what his brother brings to the table.

"He's fast and runs beautiful routes. If you saw him run routes, you'd drop. He's also a playmaker, and you can always count on him. He just needs to get a little bit sharper, because you can never get too much work on that."

It is unknown whether Davis will receive an offer from Illinois at this point or not, but Wallace remains very optimistic.

"He's going to get (a scholarship). They are going to come and watch him work out in a couple weeks, and if they like what they see, they're going to offer him. But if not, at the least, we'll have to wait until the one-day camp and then hopefully they can offer him then.

"I know Kevin, and with his speed and the way he runs routes, I know they will be impressed with what they see. I think he will be a great player for the program. We are pushing for something to happen in the next couples weeks, because he walked away very impressed with his visit to Illinois also."

Wallace has stayed in contact with the UI coaches about their feelings on his brother, especially Zook.

"Me and Coach Zook sat down and talked about Kevin. I told him, ‘I can't be anywhere without my brother.' And they told me I have to have faith they will get it worked out. Coach (Paul) Petrino is very picky with the wide-receivers he picks, so they want to take the time to look at him."

Koenning and Zook have been the coaches recruiting Wallace. He thinks very highly of both.

"They are both great people. I think Coach Koenning is one of the best defensive coordinators in college football. And Coach Zook is a really good guy and is really positive. And talking to him, I know what he is trying to do with the program.

"Coach Zook and I had a long talk, and he's all about faith and trusting in God—both of them are. That's something that really stands out to me, and they have built a great relationship with both me and my family, and all my family loves them."

When looking for an attractive school, Wallace isn't extremely picky. He looks for just a few main points.

"A good broadcasting major, a nice campus, and a good business school for my brother."

But when looking at the football program, he looks a little deeper.

"I look for a family, a positive outlook, a positive coaching staff, a place where I have a chance to play early, and a place where I can just fit in and have a good role as a player. Whether it's redshirting my freshman year and working my way up or coming in to play right away, I just want me and my brother to fit in with the other guys.

"I just want to be a family with everyone. When I am in college, my parents won't be there for me. I'll have to be able to go to the coaches and talk to them whenever stuff gets hard because Coach Zook told me there is going to be tough days."

Wallace wants to get his decision made sooner rather than later, so he doesn't have to worry about it being a distraction.

"I will probably have my decision made by mid-June, so I can get the summer started and focus on winning a state and national championship."

Wallace plans to return to Champaign this upcoming Saturday to watch the annual Orange and Blue Spring Game.

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