SMU boasts the largest recruiting class in the nation with 22 commits, all before the end of July. But the class still needs a few more players, including one more defensive tackle. That name could be Dallas Skyline Joe Wallace, who attended SMU’s private barbecue last weekend and loved the tight-knit bond the commits have. A few of them are close friends.
“At the cookout, I was the only d-lineman there who wasn’t committed, so I was pretty much getting grilled,” Wallace said, laughing. “It was cool, I love the guys though. I know a couple of them because I played little league football with them. I grew up with Demerick (Gary). Every day I get a call from Demerick grilling me."
Wallace also got to meet some current players and talk with all the coaches at the barbecue, held in the Miller Event Center attached to Moody Coliseum. But he was really happy that he had a relaxed conversation with coaches, which he admitted he never did before with any college coaching staff.
“It was just a real chill atmosphere, it was really cool,” Wallace said. “It was my first time getting to sit down and getting to have a conversation out of the whole recruiting process. It was still recruiting, but it was like having dinner with your family. That’s what it felt like. It was pretty cool.”
The three-star defensive tackle left the visit thinking he found a home away from home, even though he lives just a few miles from the campus.
“They were pretty much saying they committed because of the family atmosphere,” Wallace said. “The cornerback from Cedar Hill (Eric Sutton), he was saying, ‘Why go so far when you can put on for your city?’”
Wallace also visited SMU in June for the camp and got the offer at the end of it, so he was familiar with the campus and the coaches. Despite the at-home feeling and familiarity, Wallace is set on seeing other schools, since he hasn’t taken any other visits to schools that have offered him (he camped at USC and UCLA, which haven’t offered).
“I really want to take an unofficial (to Iowa State) before I start setting up my officials. I would love to still make that happen,” Wallace said. “I want to commit to somewhere where I’m most comfortable, but I haven’t taken any other visits so I don’t really know what other football programs have to offer. I just want to get a feel for all the colleges before I make a decision…but SMU set quite a standard.”
Wallace does not have a list of top schools or a definite decision timeline. He said SMU, Iowa State, Washington and Texas Tech are recruiting him the hardest, and also has offers from UTSA, Air Force, Army, Colorado State, Louisiana-Monroe, Nevada and UMass. He would like to commit before the start of the season, but said he won’t without a good feel for his options.
The 6-foot, 325-pound Wallace is Scout’s 40th-ranked defensive tackle in 2016.