I know a coach that believes he can pick out which kids on a playground will end up playing and even really excelling in sports at the high school level and beyond. Seriously, he will look out at a playground with kids ranging from toddlers to elementary school kids, girls and boys, and he will start identifying kids he believes will grow up and be the next quarterback at the nearby high school, the next bone crunching tackler at linebacker, or graceful and explosive wide receiver.
He will call out a girl that will be the next sprinter, high jumper, or post player on the basketball team. It's kind of a game for him, but he takes it very personal. He's scouting for the future and there are physical and personality traits he is honed in on.
You have to wonder if that is what current South Hills High School (Fort Worth, Texas) head coach J.J. Resendez was doing, but in a slightly different way when he looked in on the elementary P.E. class on recent Oklahoma State football commitments Tracin Wallace and his twin brother Tylan Wallace.
"The first time I ran into the boys they were in sixth-grade P.E. (class) and you could just tell by the way they played and they were carrying on with the football that they were special athletes, and we couldn't wait to get them on (the high school) campus and see what they could do," Resendez told us on Triple Play Sports Radio.
"Both young men have impeccable work ethic and they are freak athletes. When they stepped on campus as freshmen you are talking about them being the two best athletes in the school as freshmen. It was unbelievable to just watch them compete. They are both on the grade level and they were not held back in school."
It has worked out for Resendez and for the Wallace twins at South Hill as members of the Scorpions. The team has black and chrome uniforms that would make Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy proud with a helmet logo of a scorpion with tail raised ready to sting over the outline of the state of Texas.
It is the state of Texas and Class 5A football that Resendez and the Wallace twins are hoping to attack and sting this upcoming season, the senior year for Tracin and Tylan. The goal was to make a long playoff run last season in their junior year, but it came crashing in when Tracin (6-0, 175, 4.5 in the 40) went down in a preseason scrimmage against Seagoville.
Tracin is the dual-threat quarterback that started as a freshman and completed 130 of 206 passes for 1,859 yards with 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He ran for 760 yards and 13 touchdowns. All that as a freshman quarterback in then Class 4A varsity competition. He came into his junior season with 6,135 yards of total offense and responsible for 83 touchdowns.
"We've kind of been the bridesmaid the past few years," Resendez explained. "We finished second (in the district) two years ago and finished third last year after trying to piece together when Tracin was injured. But hopefully if we can stay healthy we feel we'll compete for that gold ball and playing and practicing on Thanksgiving, having Thanksgiving dinner after we practice and playing December football."
The goal for Texas high school players and coaches is to get to Thanksgiving and still be practicing and playing. You need talent to do that and the Wallace brothers along with another definite Division I prospect the Scorpions feel they have that. You need leadership, team attitude first and Tracin showed he had what it took as the leader and quarterback when he was hurt last season. Instead of moping and feeling sorry for himself he pitched in to coach and look for a solution.
"Man, I tried to be as much as I could, as if I was on the field," said Tracin Wallace. "I tried to be a coach to our backup quarterback and I just wanted to help the team as much as I could."
There is frustration when you get injured like that, especially when it happens on the eve of everything you spent the offseason working for. The frustration was on Tracin's face a couple of weeks ago at Coppell High School as he stood on the sidelines in warm-ups and watched his brother Tylan and nearly 500 other top athletes in the region compete in testing and football drills at Nike's The Opening Regional. His eyes showed so badly how he wanted to be out there. Several times he took steps toward the field and you thought he was going to jump out there in the next rotation.
"It's going good and I've been cleared for therapy (more intense) last week," the dual threat quarterback added. "I'm starting to work back in the motions and drills for spring football."
Tracin said he would still like to work at quarterback in college but he admits he could wind up on defense as a cornerback. He said Oklahoma State wide receivers coach Kasey Dunn said he could end up joining his brother as a wide receiver. Imagine a Wallace on either side of the offensive formation. He was very enthusiastic about joining the Cowboys.
"When we went down there for our junior day we saw the facilities and the coaches were so cool with you," Tracin said of his trip to Stillwater. "The coaches showed that they wanted us and a lot of appreciation and we thought it was the best fit for us."
Now the fit for the upcoming season, before they start making plans to move to Oklahoma State, is sizing up a state championship ring. It is really hard for a city school district team to even think about that accomplishment going up against suburban schools with bigger budgets and single high school districts in more rural Texas towns.
Last season Dallas South Oak Cliff and Austin LBJ each made the regional finals but that is as far as a city school district team made it in the Class 5A playoffs in Texas. In Class 6A, Dallas Skyline did make the state semifinals. It can be done, but it is not easy. At South Hills, the Wallace twins, with Tracin being back and healthy, make it possible.