The first time I saw Jonathan Wallace was when he was the quarterback at Central High School and I was speaking to a booster club banquet for Coach Woodrow Lowe, a player I recruited and coached when I was on the staff coaching linebackers at Alabama.
Woodrow had asked me to come over to Phenix City to speak at a fundraiser for his team and I was glad to do it. I remember sitting at the head table with Woodrow and I noticed how the coach had all of his players working as waiters that night. They were dressed in white shirts and ties while serving food to the boosters.
He pointed Jonathan out to me and said, “That guy right there is our quarterback. He is a good one and he is a terrific young man.”
I started watching him, his body language and how he carried himself, and I?noticed all of his teammates were looking at him to see how he did things because they wanted to do it the right way like they knew he would be doing it. I remember thinking that night that Central’s quarterback must be a really good leader.
At the time I knew he was a college prospect, but I?had no idea he would sign with Auburn earlier this year and be making his first college start for this week’s Homecoming game vs. New Mexico State. That is a tremendous challenge for any true freshman and I hope things go well for the young quarterback.
Jonathan Wallace is shown in action for the Tigers.
Everything I have heard and read about him confirms what Coach Lowe told me about Jonathan being an outstanding young man with leadership skills on and off the football field. Another thing you hear a lot about Jonathan is how hard he works. That sounds like what you are looking for in a quarterback to me.
A team needs a quarterback who not only has the ability to make plays on the field, it needs a leader who has the force of personality to command respect in the huddle and make everybody else around him better because of the type of person and player he is.
Starting at quarterback as a true freshman is not easy at any level of college football, and that is especially true of playing the game in the Southeastern Conference. It is a big step for Wallace to take.
(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)
Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American player at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn, he also served as a head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming. Dye writes three columns for AUTigers.com--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat’s Picks.
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