A.J. Wallace had spoken to members of the University of Michigan football staff about what it was like at the tradition-rich university, but last week he got a chance to experience it for himself. The talented 6-foot-1, 185-pound athlete, Jim S' #4 defensive back, made his way to Ann Arbor for the annual U-M summer football camp, and after a few days on campus it appears things could not have gone much better.
"It went really well," Wallace said. "I participated in all of the camp drills. They pulled me aside for some one-on-one drills. Then I would go into the coach's office and we would talk for a little bit."
Early playing time is one of the significant factors in Wallace's decision, and the Wolverines have let him know that he would have that opportunity in Ann Arbor. "They told me that if I came in in the summer and was prepared in the fall, I could be in the two deep," he said. "Coach Carr was talking about how I would be a great fit there. He said that he was very excited to have me at the camp."
Wallace's would-be position coach, Ron English, was likely just as excited. The camp offered Michigan's defensive backfield specialist the chance to show exactly how he molds his pupils. Wallace came away impressed with English as a coach and as a person. "I liked working with him," Wallace said of English. "He is a good coach and a good man. He taught me a lot of things that can help me during the season. I liked hanging out with him."
Wallace's mother and father accompanied him on the trip to Ann Arbor, and A.J. said they were impressed as well. "My mom liked the camp a lot. She was born in Detroit. My dad liked it too. They talked to the coaches a lot when I wasn't around. They got a lot of information."
When the Wallaces weren't getting info from the coaches, it was coming from a few other sources. Not only did they bump into a number of current players while they were in town, but they also rubbed shoulders with a few past greats as well. "I spoke with the several of the defensive backs (Morgan Trent, Jamar Adams, Leon Hall and Ryan Mundy), but mostly with Morgan Trent," Wallace said. "He made me feel comfortable. I also got to talk to Bo Schembechler and to Braylon Edwards' dad. Coach Schembechler was talking about how great the school was. Mr. Edwards just gave me the straight facts about the school. He talked about how Braylon had problems at times, but that going through them there was in his best interest."
With the camp now over, Michigan's standing with Wallace certainly seems to have strengthened. That's an important accomplishment on the heels of a strong Ohio State visit. "That was a nice trip," said Wallace of his time in Columbus. "I got a chance to talk to a lot of players and coaches. The visits improved them both. I'm definitely taking a hard look at them."
The Wolverines and Buckeyes stand an excellent shot at making Wallace's trimmed down list, but the highly coveted athlete has yet to eliminate any programs from consideration. He indicated that he still may take a few unofficial visits later this summer. "I'm get closer to doing it, but I haven't quite narrowed it down yet," Wallace said. "I might go down to Florida and visit those schools. It's still up in the air right now. Other than that, I won't be taking any more."
When the fall rolls around, Wallace said he plans to take all five officials before making a decision. Will he make an official visit to Michigan? "I plan to," he said.
GoBlueWolverine's Scouting Report: A.J. Wallace is a pure cover corner. He has blazing speed and excellent hips and agility, and a lanky body type that shouldn't outgrow the CB position as he gets older. Wallace worked out at camp on Tuesday and on Wednesday morning, and his reputation evidently preceeded him as quarterbacks rarely tested him in the various passing drills.
GoBlueWolverine will have more on Wallace in the coming months.