Oregon, USC fighting over this recruit — and he didn't play the past 2 seasons

Oregon, USC fighting over this recruit — and he didn't play the past 2 seasons
  1. Oregon, USC fighting over this recruit — and he didn't play the past 2 seasons
    Tony Wallace didn’t play high school football as sophomore or junior. That’s what happens when your grade point average dips below the 2.0 threshold to be eligible. So, when he started …
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By Ray Brewer (contact)

Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017 | 2 a.m.

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Tony Wallace didn’t play high school football as sophomore or junior. That’s what happens when your grade point average dips below the 2.0 threshold to be eligible.

So, when he started gaining recruiting attention from colleges last spring before his senior season, landing scholarship offers from Hawaii, BYU and UNLV during a two-week stretch, many wondered just where this 6-foot, 180-pound defensive back and wide receiver came from.

“It’s crazy. It all happened so fast,” he said. “Yeah, I’ve got a pretty good story to tell.”

After he finally played this fall, helping Desert Pines win a state championship and getting game film to send to recruiters that highlighted his raw athleticism, the offers came from a different caliber of college program. In this wave of interest, heavyweights Arizona, Oregon and USC offered him a scholarship.

Wallace played on the varsity team as a freshman at Spring Valley, but poor grades forced him to miss the following two seasons. There were no stats for recruiters to evaluate and no profile in databases at Rivals and Scout, which track recruits nationally.

Because he’s still a relative unknown, he’s listed as a two-star recruit on the evaluating scale of five stars, making him one of the less-heralded players on the radar of powerhouse USC and Oregon. Wallace is verbally committed (those are nonbinding) to Arizona but has official visits scheduled for USC and Oregon later this month. Signing day is Feb. 1.

“I grew up watching SC and Oregon. Those are two of my favorite teams,” Wallace said. “Wow, I never thought I would get those offers. I’m just a two-star (recruit). Nobody knows about me. I’m the underdog and that’s how I like it.”

By the start of his junior season, Wallace said he started to figure it out. He did enough work in the classroom to become eligible at the quarter-break of the academic schedule, but Spring Valley missed the playoffs before grades became official to signal other wasted season.

He transferred to Desert Pines last spring and caught the eye of recruiters who were frequently at the school to court the program’s other recruits. Soon, Wallace became one of the main attractions.

“There’s a lot of competition here. Every day I came out here, they pushed me to be …

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