Bartlesville sophomore PJ Wallace impressed coaches last year as a freshman making plays on the defensive side of the ball. Wallace used his speed off the edge to rush the quarterback and shut down running plays to great effect. However, Wallace’s skills might be even more impressive on the offensive side of the ball when he’s lined up in the backfield. While Wallace will do whatever it takes to help his team he does have a slight positional preference.
“I prefer running people over or making people miss,” Wallace said. “I still love defense though.”
Wallace first started playing football when he was in the first grade and has always had a deep connection with the game.
“Football is life to me,” Wallace said.
Over the years Wallace has studied the game and looked up to different styles of runners that he tries to model his game after. As a fan of Oklahoma State Wallace loves watching old highlights of Barry Sanders and his ability to leave defenders in the dust with a quick juke or spin move. He also appreciates the power of Derrick Henry and his ability to truck through defenders and play with physicality for four quarters.
Wallace brings his own balance of toughness and agility to the gridiron and is a true playmaker with the ball in his hands. The Bruins were a young team this year and Wallace has been pleased with what he and his teammates have been able to achieve as the season draws to a close.
“I felt like our team has made a lot of improvements since last year,” Wallace said.
As for personal and team goals Wallace had this to say:
“I’m going to try to be the leading rusher at Bartlesville and it would be our goal right now to focus on the playoffs. For the next season we are going to try to win out and I’d like to go for a thousand yards again.”
In the offseason Wallace is going to continue to work hard to improve his game however he can. Last year he participated on the wrestling team and this year plans on joining track and field. Wallace said he will probably run the 100m and throw the discus in the spring.
In the classroom Wallace’s favorite subject is world history. After high school he would like to continue his education at Oklahoma State University, just like his idol Barry Sanders, where he hopes to earn a football scholarship as well and continue working toward his dream of making it to the NFL.
Photograph courtesy of Tyler Deaton