Jamal Wallace received an offer from Tennessee football in September. His interest in the Vols goes back beyond that.
Now, the 6-foot-4, 269-pound defensive lineman out of Sierra College in Rocklin, California, will take a visit to Knoxville before making his college decision on Dec. 20.
“It’s always been my dream school just because of the colors, the fan base and them always being almost able to get into the playoffs and I feel like I could help with that,” Wallace said. “So that’s what interested me in Tennessee.”
Being from Ruskin High School in Kansas City, Missouri, former Vol and Kansas City Chief also introduced Wallace to the history of Tennessee.
Defensive line coach Rodney Garner has been the main contact for Wallace in his recruitment. Defensive coordinator Tim Banks has also made a trip to watch Wallace play.
Other coaches have told Wallace about the caliber of coach Garner is.
“I know that he’s a very, very good coach,” Wallace said. “A lot of coaches that I went on visits with, they talk about him a lot. They know him.”
Wallace played just about every position except nose guard on the defensive front for Sierra, but mainly specialized as an edge rusher. He finished with 39 total tackles and 3.5 sacks in 10 games this season. He also had a fumble recovery over that stretch.
As he goes from JUCO to the FBS level, Wallace has learned the preparation and work it takes to succeed in college. He entered as a 190-pound wide receiver before being converted to the defensive front.
On his visit to Tennessee, and every visit he takes, Wallace is looking for a place to call home.
“A clean, nice environment,” Wallace said. “I would say like family-friendly, something like that. I don’t want it to be too friendly, but I need to make sure that I’m around the right coaches. Like I don’t want to be shown something fake — if we got some nice coaches, that’s what I want to see. If we got some (tough) coaches, I would love to see that too. I don’t want it to be shown just for a visit.”
Wallace has taken visits to South Florida, Houston, Utah State and North Texas. Houston and Utah State currently top his interest list as he heads into his Tennessee visit — his last before making a college decision.