"I had a chance to play football in Puerto Rico for the first time," Wallace recounted. "I never saw myself playing that game. I played soccer."
The Wallace's left Puerto Rico and about returned to Panama, but the tuition for school was too much. "It was about $7,000 a year. It was a lot of money." So the Wallace's moved to Oceanside, Calif. and Roberto decided to play football.
"I kept getting asked to come out by Derek Shaw and the coach to play. So I did." Not bad for a first timer. Last year Wallace had 25 receptions for 495 yards and hauled in four touchdowns.
Those stats plus Wallace's size and physical tools have prompted ten teams to offer. The latest team was Utah while the first was Nebraska.
"I'm 6-foot-4 and 206 pounds. I ran a 4.6/40. I know that I need to work to get that time down. I'd say though that my size and my strength are my biggest assets playing receiver. I'm pretty strong and I kind of tower over corners."
Wallace was able to participate at the USC camp this summer. He wasn't planning on attending any other camps and has been dealing with a back strain for most of the summer. "USC wanted to try me out at tight end. Everyone else is recruiting me as a wide receiver. It's a muscle strain is all in my back. It's getting better. I am just doing a lot of stretching."
Wallace also took an unofficial visit to Arizona this summer although they have not offered him yet. "I took one there a long time ago."
While he is holding ten offers, Wallace hasn't started to narrow down his list or declare any leaders. "No, I really don't have an order. I am trying to focus on my team now. I have to walk before I run."
He has been thinking about his official visits though, but he hasn't set up any official dates yet. "I am definitely going to Nebraska. Then to Oregon State and then to San Diego State although they are right here. Then probably to Michigan State. I have offers from all of them."
Recruiting Wallace from Nebraska is Bill Busch who is recruiting California, Hawaii and American Samoa. "He's a great guy," Wallace said of Busch. "He's real cool. He sends me a lot of hand-written mail and the whole staff. A lot of times the whole coaching staff writes me letters lately. As a matter of fact my aunt is just handing me more mail from Nebraska right now."
"I get big FedEx packages from Nebraska. And inside there is a letter from each coach. They're definitely recruiting me the hardest."
Wallace isn't the only Oceanside player holding a Nebraska offer. Derek Shaw and Russell Tialavea also have offers to be a Husker. "We've mentioned going to the same school before. I wouldn't mind it. We all have our different tastes though. Derek is getting a lot of mail from schools in the South though. He's probably one of the top quarterbacks in the nation."
So does Roberto consider himself one of the top receivers in the nation? "I'm new to all of this. I am having fun. Last year was my first year playing football, ever."
So from what Roberto has gathered from the process so far and all of the hand-written mail, what does he think about Nebraska?
"I really like Nebraska. I wish that Nebraska was over here in San Diego. The love that they have for me already and I'm not even there."
The weather looks to play a slight factor into Wallace's decision given where he was born, living in Puerto Rico and now in San Diego. "It gets chilly in the winter in California for me. Imagine a Panamanian kid in the winter in Nebraska. It could be a factor. It will depend on the visit."
The fact that the change of offense is taking place at Nebraska is really helping their chances despite the potential temperature problems. "They talk about the West Coast Offense a little bit in their letters. Coach Busch says, "We need a big receiver. We need a Roberto Wallace. We need a wide receiver who can catch 100 passes a year."
Wallace came up just a shade short on his first attempt to pass his SAT and will re-take the test soon.