THE RECRUITING GUY:

4-star St. Louis tackle mulls Arkansas, Alabama

By: Richard Davenport
Published: Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Offensive tackle Brian Wallace Jr. was one of the best at his position during the week of practice before the U.S. Army All American game on Saturday.
Offensive tackle Brian Wallace Jr. was one of the best at his position during the week of practice before the U.S. Army All American game on Saturday.

SAN ANTONIO - The long recruiting process for highly recruited offensive lineman Brian Wallace Jr. has come down to Arkansas and Alabama.

Wallace, 6-6, 304, 5.2 seconds in the 40-yard dash, of St. Louis Christian Brothers College High, has more than 20 scholarship offers, but will decide from the Hogs and Crimson Tide during the noon NBC broadcast of the U.S. Army All American game in San Antonio on Saturday.

“At first I was real happy about it, but after a while it started to get real hectic,” said Wallace of the recruiting process. “Everybody wanted my attention so now I’ve narrowed it down to two schools, Arkansas and Alabama.”

Wallace, who officially visited Arkansas and Alabama with his parents, Brian Sr. and Leslie, said the schools are similar.

“It’s really both about the same thing,” said Wallace, who also made official visits to Missouri and Iowa. “They’ve both impressed me as far as their facilities, education-wise and just the football team in general.”

When asked if he had made up his mind, Wallace didn’t tip his hand.

“I mean, not really,” he said. “Everybody will know on Saturday.”

Wallace said he isn’t sure what will give one of the schools an edge.

“They both really got what I really want,” said Wallace,who also visited the Hogs in August. “I don’t really know.”

Rated a a four-star prospect by national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports Network, Wallace has the physical tools to excel on the next level.

“Brian dominates as a run blocker,” Lemming said. “Very aggressive. He has the quick hands to play either left or right tackle in college. He’s just what the doctor ordered for a major-college running game.”

Wallace said he is looking for a school the provides an at-home atmosphere, something he experienced the two times he visited Fayetteville.

“I can say that, yes,” Wallace said. “Just the environment and me being able to connect with the players and the coaches.”

Wallace said his trip to Tuscaloosa gave him the same feeling.

“Me and the coaches hit it off real well,” Wallace said. “Actually, when I went down on my official visit to Alabama, I actually got to hang out with some of the players. The same thing I did at Arkansas. We hit off real well.” THE FINAL FIVE

Another U.S. Army All-American, highly sought receiver Frank Iheanacho, will also announce his college decision during the game.

Iheanacho, 6-7, 220 pounds, of Houston Westside, had approximately 20 scholarship offers before naming a top five of Arkansas, Texas A&M, Oregon, LSU and Missouri. He officially visited all but Missouri.

“Arkansas definitely has that home feeling you look for in a program as do all the schools,” Iheanacho said. “That’s what I’m looking for, a trustworthy coaching staff and the players. The cohesiveness between each other. I could see that on my official visit.I saw that they were really close.”

Iheanacho has taken an unorthodox path to the game. He played very little as a sophomore and skipping football entirely to focus on basketball as a junior. He decided to give football another try shortly before the start of the season and ended up recording 47 receptions for 618 yards and 15 touchdowns.

There has been speculation that Iheanacho is deciding between Oregon and Texas A&M.

“There’s always going to be rumors,” Iheanacho said. “I’ve made no certain comment about that. My decision is the top five, and that’s where I left off.”

Iheanacho said he is impressed by Arkansas’ willingness to insert true freshmen into the lineup.

The Hogs’ willingness to play numerous freshmen this season is something Iheanacho likes.

“The open spots, the true freshmen playing and that’s what you want ,” said Iheanacho, who excelled in 1-on-1 competition during Monday’s practice. “You want to come in and be a contributing factor in the program, and that’s what I want to be.”

Running backs coach Joel Thomas is Iheanacho’s lead recruiter.

“Coach Thomas is a cool person,” Iheanacho said. “He’s a fun-loving person and he lets me know he wants to utilize me as a big receiver and that’s a big thing for me. I know what I am, and I know what I worked for, and that’s what I’m going to be at the end of the day.”

E-mail Richard Davenport at rdavenport@arkansasonline.com

Sports, Pages 18 on 12/31/2013

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