Position series feature: John Wallace

The final story in our position series feature on the University of Louisville football team is a feature on sophomore placekicker John Wallace. Here's a look at the second-year kicker and the Lou Groza Award Watch list player.

University of Louisville sophomore kicker John Wallace admitted he's struggled in the past with confidence issues.

Wallace had a stellar career at Central Hardin High School in Cecilia, Ky., lacking some confidence and then was a major hit as a redshirt freshman at U of L last season, earning kicking duties in the preseason.

Now, Wallace is ready for his second season with the Cardinals and he will head onto the field on Sunday in the opener with "a ton of confidence."

"Last year, just knowing I made those kicks (to win games against Cincinnati and Rutgers), helps," Wallace said. "It helps out to build my confidence. I feel so much better because of the confidence than I did last year."

The 6-foot, 196-pound Wallace had a stellar career despite sometime struggling with his confidence, saying sometimes "I just wasn't confident I could make them."

"The kicks I missed, it wasn't about form or anything like that," Wallace said. "Yes, I have to be more consistent but it's also going to help because I don't think there will be a kick that I don't believe I can make.

"I go in this year with a stronger head."

Wallace finished his illustrious high school career with 32 career field goals, which ranks him second all-time in Kentucky history and he booted several field goals of 50 yards or more as a senior.

After sitting out one season, Wallace started last fall's camp in a battle with freshman Matthew Nakatani for the kicking duties and it wasn't until just before the opening game that Kenny Carter named a starter. Wallace had a 22-yard field goal and four extra points in the opening-game victory over Kentucky.

But Wallace suffered a minor injury during the game and Nakatani came in to handle the duties in the second game – a win over Missouri State.

Wallace returned for one of his best outings in a 39-34 win over North Carolina. He made both of his field-goal attempts, including a 43-yarder for the only points of the second half by the Cardinals.

A 38-yard field goal in the monsoon conditions at Southern Miss was a momentum builder in Louisville's come from behind win. And Wallace said his toughest kick of the season came at Pittsburgh in a win.

Carter said his kicker "just kept getting better" as the season went on. Wallace hit a 30-yarder in overtime to beat Cincinnati and then came the Rutgers game. He kicked a 20-yard field goal in the first half but the Cardinals trailed 14-3.

Teddy Bridgewater threw a pair of TDs for the lead before Rutgers tied it at 17. Wallace then won the game with a 29-yard field goal with 1:41 left. Wallace then booted two field goals in the Sugar Bowl win over Florida.

" I think he's one of the better kickers in the country," Carter said. "He kicked a 50 yarder (in fall camp last week) and it would have been good from 60.

"I'm really happy with where he's at."

Wallace said he's worked hard in the offseason, especially in the weight room to try and make his leg stronger. He's expected to start as the kicker and also expected to handle kickoff duties again.

"I've been working really hard and I feel good," he said. "But hopefully, the way we have been preparing that no games come down to me."

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