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Friday, October 24, 2014

Bo knows how to deal with new-found fame

COLUMN: Yes, Bo Wallace was recruited by Texas.

And no, he did not visit Austin, Texas. Nor did he receive an offer from the Longhorns.

That’s about all that needs to be said about his connection to Ole Miss’ opponent this weekend, according to Wallace.

During Monday’s usual press conference, the Ole Miss quarterback was asked several recruiting-related questions by members of the Texas media.

As best he could, Wallace downplayed any significance or correlation between him and the Longhorns, stating “I talked to them two or three times. Talked to them about maybe bringing me on a visit. Never happened, so I think their media kind of blew it up more than there really was.”

Later, when the interview was opened up to the UT media on the phones, Wallace was asked various questions from why he wasn’t offered, did he take the Texas snub personal and, of course, did he know the Manning family.

“I think they just felt like they had two quality guys that could win football games for them and decided to go a different route,” Wallace said in response to the first question, reiterating what Texas coach Mack Brown had said during his press conference earlier in the day.

As far as feeling snubbed, Wallace, whose three offers out of high school were from UT-Martin, Tennessee Tech and Arkansas State, said he doesn’t take Texas’ decision any more personal than he does those from other big-time programs.

“I’ve always wanted to be at Ole Miss. I don’t know if they would have offered me if that would have changed,” he said. “Obviously I always play with a chip on my shoulder and it will be the same against Texas as it is against Alabama and LSU.”

Later, one reporter stated Brown felt that Texas couldn’t overcome Wallace’s pre-existing relationship with Freeze dating back to their ASU days and asked if it was true.

“There was a chance I could have ended up anywhere I made a visit,” he said. “There was a chance I could have ended up at Indiana, but Coach (Hugh) Freeze and my relationship (with him) was just something that I couldn’t pass up.”

The Longhorns’ media wasn’t the only group that’s enamored by Wallace. The Texas coaching staff also seems interested in Wallace, but for different reasons.

“You can watch on tape what he’s doing when he carries himself. He can make bad plays, good plays for them. What he’s also doing is he’s not making bad plays disasters. It might be a throwaway or scramble for six yards when he’s covered, but he’s not throwing it to their team and taking bad sacks and stuff like that,” Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said. “On the flip side, the third or fourth play of the (UTEP) game they had a double move, you know, bang. Right on the money… This guy (Wallace) sets his feet and throws a beautiful strike for a 50-yard touchdown pass to (Donte) Moncrief.

“So you know the guy’s capable of making a play which is something that scares you.”

The added attention is something that should now be expected of Ole Miss’ new leading man.

Not only is Wallace drawing more interview requests and focus from opposing team’s film studies, but he’s also being sought out more away from the field.

Like with the attention from the Texas media, Wallace minimized the impact of his new-found fame.

“It’s ‘good luck Bo’ walking to class, but I’m not on the Square very often right now and that’s definitely a good thing,” Wallace said. “It’s just students on campus saying ‘good luck’ and stuff like that. Just tell them you appreciate it and go about your day.”

‘Humble kid’
Asked about Wallace’s new-found “rock star fame,” Freeze shuddered.

“The last thing we want is him thinking he’s a rock star. He’s actually a very humble kid,” he said. “He’s all boy and can certainly find himself in some situations that all young men can find themselves in. I hope he’s getting it. To be the quarterback at Ole Miss, you’re just not a normal kid from Giles County, Tennessee anymore. He’s played well. Everybody who didn’t recognize him probably does now. That’s something (QB coach) Dan (Werner) and I talk to him quite often about.

“All joking aside, he’s a very humble kid. Him playing well is not going to his head. It really drives him and he wants to do better. I don’t have to worry about his ego. You do worry about him recognizing the actual magnitude that this position has at a place like Ole Miss.”
Oh, and by the way: Yes, Wallace does know the Manning family. (September 14, 2012, Page 6A)

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