Tristen Wallace looks the part and he's starting to play the part. In other words, opponents beware.
The 6-foot-2 1/2, 225-pound quarterback led DeSoto (Texas) to a 7-on-7 state qualifier tournament semifinal Saturday at Bowie High School in Arlington, where the perennial power Eagles fell 35-31 in a nail-biter to another talent-laden program in Tyler (Texas) John Tyler.
DeSoto didn't get one of the two state tournament berths that were up for grabs, but there's no doubt the Eagles and their horde of FBS-caliber playmakers benefited from the competition.
Wallace was chief among them.
"It's a lot of schools. SEC, Big 12," said Wallace, who is No. 16 in Scout's initial Midlands Top 50 rankings for the 2016 class. "I've talked to Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M, TCU, Missouri. You know, different schools. I'm not sure (of all the schools from which he's heard). I don't really get into it. I try to stay level-headed."
Wallace -- ranked sixth at his position and 85th overall nationally by Scout in the 2016 class -- has made a couple of recent camp stops in addition to all the interest he's received.
"I just came back from North Carolina and a few days before that I was in Lincoln for Nebraska," Wallace said. "And I visited Oklahoma State on the way (to Lincoln). I've been already going to camps, but I'm not sure about the rest of the summer. For the rest of the summer, I might just be getting ready for our first game against (Arlington) Martin, so I'm not sure."
However, Wallace said Texas wants him at a July 18 camp and he plans to attend that one.
"They really like me," Wallace said of the Longhorns.
But as far as recruiting in general, Wallace said he tries to avoid the limelight.
"I let my parents deal with that," Wallace said. "I love DeSoto and that's who I play for and that's where I wanna be right now."
Wallace is a very good athlete and fluid. We saw him compete at the May 4 Dallas Elite 11 regional competition at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, where his arm strength was great, but his delivery, while quick, was very low and inconsistent. His release point is still low, but Saturday he showed definite mechanical improvement even in the seven short weeks since the Elite 11 event.
Plus, if Saturday was any indication, his release has gotten even quicker. His velocity was as good as I've seen it to date, which is saying something. You can say the same for his touch on routes down the middle of the field where he has to fit the ball over defensive backs.
Wallace was probably the most physically impressive athlete in the 24-team tournament. He looks like a 3-4 outside linebacker playing quarterback, but again, in only seven weeks since the Elite 11 competition, he seems to have started putting his game together more as a true quarterback. The talent and athleticism have always been there, but he appears to be learning the nuances of playing the position, something that DeSoto head coach Claude Mathis agreed with wholeheartedly when I mentioned my impressions of Wallace's Saturday performance.
And that's not even mentioning his ability as a runner.
DeSoto used Wallace primarily as a run-first, wildcat-style quarterback in certain situations in 2013, when the Eagles went 14-1 and reached their second consecutive state semifinals. DeSoto started diminutive, playmaking, TCU receiver signee Desmon White at the quarterback spot.
But in limited action, Wallace still made an impact, finishing his sophomore season with 407 rushing yards and four touchdowns on only 43 carries, averaging almost 10 yards per tote. He completed 6 of 14 passes for 52 yards and two interceptions.
Stay with Scout as we track Wallace's recruitment and progression. As one of the top six 2016 quarterbacks in our national rankings, there's no doubt he will be a popular target for a lot of schools in the coming months.