Gamecocks Have Secret Weapon at Defensive End

Size matters. The Gamecocks have a secret weapon of mass headed their way at defensive end, a position of huge need for the USC football team. 6'7 and 270 pound Nathaniel Wallace from Jacksonville Florida, is transferring from Presbyterian College as a walk-on this fall.

Wallace has flown under the radar with only one year of high school football under his belt, and he did not grow to his current size until his freshman year at PC. It is understandable why Wallace did not attract D-1 scholarship offers as an undersized player playing his first year of high school football. "In High School I didn't play football until my senior year because I thought I was a basketball player." Wallace said.

He played at The Bolles School in Jacksonville, a high school program noted for sending talented football players to the college ranks. "Actually I think we had something like twelve D-I signees from the senior class that I graduated with," said Wallace.

As a first year player on a talented football team, it was difficult for Wallace to get on the field beyond playing a lot of special teams and some defensive end on third down situations. That year The Bolles School went on to win the 3A Florida state championship.

Wallace was recruited by such teams as Samford, Georgia Southern, and Presbyterian College for football; and Rice, Delaware, and Georgia Southern for basketball.

After choosing to attend Presbyterian College, he red shirted his first year and began to learn more about football as well as becoming immersed in a football weight training program. Wallace states, "I only weighed 215 lbs coming out of High School and quickly developed 55 lbs of good weight over the course of the year. I always have had the frame to carry the weight but I never did because of basketball". But after that year, Wallace felt that he needed a change and wanted an opportunity to play D-1 football.

With friends at both South Carolina and Ole Miss, Wallace faced a tough decision but there was one decisive factor for him. He explains, "I talked to Coach Wommack and Coach Nix a lot. I felt like I developed a really good relationship with them and after meeting with them, I knew that South Carolina was the place."

Wallace will not play the 2006 season due to ankle surgery this past spring. "I am actually finishing up my rehab in Jacksonville right now." Wallace said. "I am doing that three times a week until I move up to Columbia around August 19th. After that I should be officially put on the roster." He will use his first fall at Carolina as an opportunity to learn the defense and to get bigger and stronger.

Wallace has displayed the work ethic necessary to be a part of a major program like USC, and states that he will work as hard as he can to help the football team in any way possible. Blessed with great size, a good head on his shoulders, and a lot of heart, we could very well have the next "Rudy" on our hands.

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