WALLACE: HE'S FROM CALI, TOO

If you're a high school football player right now and you don't think any college is giving you a chance, just burn the name Seneca Wallace into your head. Four years ago, Wallace was in your shoes.

The Iowa State quarterback was the talk of the college football world on Sept. 28 after leading the Cyclones to their historic 36-14 win on over perennial national power Nebraska. He was showing up on just about everyone's top five Heisman Trophy candidate list and he even has his own website, GoSenecaGo.Com.

But it was only four years ago when Wallace was playing for a winless high school team in California, a total unknown compared to some of the other California prep quarterbacks at the time -- guys like Ken Dorsey, Chris Rix, Casey Clausen, Kyle Boller and Chris Lewis.

Wallace attended Cordova High of Rancho Cordova, Calif., and when he was there the Lancers were mired in a 20-game losing streak. He played the quarterback position and did a little bit of everything on defense and special teams. Oregon State coaches noticed him and liked him enough to offer him a scholarship as an "athlete."

But Wallace's college entrance test scores failed to meet the NCAA freshman eligibility standards and he wound up not getting into school at Corvallis. At Sacramento City College, Wallace was a back up in the 1999 season and at one point even considered giving up the game. An injury to the starter, though, gave Wallace the chance to be Sac City's quarterback. He took advantage of it, then emerged in 2000 as one of the top JC players in the nation. Iowa State was his college choice for the 2001 season and Wallace became a breakout star, known for his athleticism as well as his throwing.

"Very, very few players in college are even mentioned for the Heisman Trophy," said Max Miller, the current football coach at Cordova and a longtime coach in the Sacramento area. "Seneca has overcome a lot of obstacles to get where he is. When Seneca was here, they knew he was a great athlete. Unfortunately, he didn't win any games and nobody really knew about him."

Miller didn't come back to Cordova until the season after Wallace graduated, but had to defend against him as the head coach at nearby Johnson.

"He was a kid with tremendous skills, very hard to defend," Miller said. "He has an innate ability to avoid tacklers. He's just a fierce competitor and he has unbelievable endurance."

Wallace does not possess the magical height requirements for an NFL quarterback, but Miller says there are several NFL teams who are actively scouting him, especially ones who run the West Coast offense. "Oakland, Seattle, Green Bay and the (San Francisco) 49ers have all sent letters to us about Seneca," he said. "There's no question in my mind that one of those teams will get him."


Golden State Preps Top Stories