Wallace has turned into a star for U of L

University of Louisville sophomore kicker John Wallace has turned into a star for the Cardinals' football team. He has 28 field goals and 74 extra points in two seasons for the Cardinals.

John Wallace is the placekicker for the University of Louisville football team. But he just as easily could have been kicking for the school's most bitter rival.

"(Signing with Louisville) is just something that kind of came along," Wallace said. "I was a (Kentucky) fan growing up."

Wallace, a 6-foot, 195-pound redshirt sophomore, attended Central Hardin high school. Wallace made a name for himself by connecting on 11 of his 14 field goal tries as a senior, and finishing his career as the state's second all-time leading kicker with 32 career field goals. Wallace also showed that his leg was more than just accurate by blasting 90 percent of his kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks.

Still, Wallace's excellence wasn't enough to garner a scholarship offer from his former favorite.

"UK talked to me," Wallace remembers. "They acted like they were going to offer me a scholarship and they didn't."

Now 28 field goals and 74 extra points later, Wallace is more than happy with the fact that he's become a Cardinal.

"At the time I was mad (about the situation with Kentucky), but now I'm glad they didn't offer me, because I'd be in a pretty bad situation right now compared to here," Wallace said with a chuckle.

With the team now ranked inside the nation's top 20 sitting on a 7-1 record, and kicking for an offense that consistently puts him in favorable positions, the situation at Louisville has been perfect for the second-year kicker.

"I've gotten a whole lot of kicks inside the 30 this year, and that's been a pretty big thing. I haven't had to try any long kicks," Wallace said.

Wallace has made the most of the short range opportunities the Cardinal offense has manufactured for him. In his two years as Louisville's starting kicker, Wallace has connected on 25 of his 27 tries within 40 yards.

But that's not to say that Wallace is not comfortable taking a step back. He connected on a 45-yarder last year at Pittsburgh, and before that nailed a 50-yard boot in high school. Wallace says that with "ideal conditions" he feels comfortable trying from "55 or 56" yards.

If Teddy Bridgewater & Co. continue to rack up yards the way they have so far, connecting from long range may not be something on Wallace's agenda in 2013- a year in which the kicker's solid performance has many buzzing that an all-conference nod could be around the corner.

"I just try to do the best I can, I don't really pay attention to (awards)," Wallace said. "But we'll see if that lines up. My goal would be a Groza (award) or an All-American, but if that doesn't work out, as long as I do my job that's all that matters."

Regardless of postseason hardware and recognition, the choice by Wallace to play for the Cardinals has paid off. He's been a reliable presence in a Louisville kicking game that had been shaky in years prior, and even kicked a 30-yard game-winner last year against Cincinnati.

With the peace of mind Wallace has given them when No. 45 trots out to attempt a field goal, Louisville fans are certainly glad he's wearing red instead of blue.

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