Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace went from JUCO to the big stage

Evan Berkowitz

Bo Wallace wanted to go to Tennessee.

But Lane Kiffin didn’t want him. He was just a two-star recruit from a small 
Tennessee town.

Wallace ended up signing a letter of intent to play at 
Arkansas State.

After redshirting his freshman year, he decided to take the junior college route, transferring to East Mississippi Community College. He wasn’t trying to get noticed by SEC schools anymore, he was just trying to get noticed by someone.

And 4,604 yards, 53 touchdowns and a 12-0 record did just that.

The two big Mississippi schools came knocking for the 6-foot-4 quarterback.

“He’s a pocket passer but moves a lot better than what one would think,” Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College head coach Steve Campbell told The (Jackson) Clarion-Ledger. “And (he) is bigger and stronger. That’s what separated him from a lot of people that just drop back there and throw it. He can throw the football but he also has some mobility. I think he’s a heck of a football player.”

Ole Miss beat their in-state rival, Mississippi State, for the heralded JUCO transfer.

After winning the quarterback competition in camp, Wallace started from Day 1 for the Rebels and in his third FBS football game, he faced the Longhorns.

He showed flashes of brilliance throwing a 75-yard touchdown pass to Donte Moncrief and barreling through Longhorn defenders on a fifteen-yard run, showing what he could do with his 209-pound frame.

But for the most part in last year’s game, he struggled. A 7.9 quarterback rating. Three interceptions. A 66-31 loss.

“I think having a year and a half with Bo playing is good,” Freeze said. “After Texas last year he played some very big games at good places in this league. So I believe that has got to better prepare him for Saturday’s game.”

Now, in his second season with the Rebels, Wallace faces lofty expectations. He’s got standout wide receivers around him in Moncrief and receiver Laquon Treadwell, the top wide receiver prospect coming out of high school last year, according to rivals.com and ESPN. He’s got a No. 25 next to his school’s name.

They are No. 25. Texas is unranked.

“You look at the game last year and we learned a lot from it,” Freeze said. “We know that we have the talent to play with them this year, and we just have to prepare and get ready for them.”

And while Freeze is unsure on the defensive game plan of Texas after the firing of Manny Diaz, he does have some ideas.

“It certainly is an uncomfortable feeling. We already had a shell of a game plan together based on what they had done last year and early this year. Is it still a good plan? I don’t know,” Freeze said. “You have to believe they’re going to work hard on stopping the run. I heard on Coach Brown’s phone conference earlier that is the priority. What that means, I don’t know but we’ll figure that out early.”

If Texas figures out how to stop the run, then the game will fall on the arm of Wallace.


Freshmen look to roll in Austin

Ole Miss landed three five-star recruits in Hugh Freeze’s second year at the realm.

Robert Nkemdiche was the No. 1 player, according to rivals.com, in the class of 2013. Treadwell was No. 5 and Laremy Tunsil No. 14.

All those recruits were No. 1 for their positions.

They weren’t like Bo Wallace, where Freeze just had to outplay Mississippi State.

All three of these guys had offers from Alabama.

But they chose Freeze over Saban.

“All of the freshmen, they’re not regular freshmen,” Monfrief said. “Those are some big-time guys that made big-time plays. That’s what we needed.”

Nkemdiche starts at defensive end and has collected five tackles. He also ran for 11 yards and a first down on a fake punt. Even Mack Brown is impressed.

“6-foot-5, unbelievable freshman,” Brown said. “ He can rush the passer.  Run right over you.  Such a man.  Played some tailback in high school.  He’ll be an All-American, first-round draft choice before he leaves there.”

Treadwell became the first Ole Miss receiver to catch nine passes since 2006 — in his first game.

“I can’t stress how good of kids Laquon and Laremy and Robert are,” Freeze told RebelGrove.com. “I was a little concerned that maybe they’d have a little too much ego. Not at all. They’re like sponges; they just want to compete.”