Notre Dame received its 19th verbal commitment for the class of 2015 from pass-rushing prospect Bo Wallace. Wallace visited campus with his father over the summer and was rumored to have the Irish in the lead; he tried to set up an official visit for the Michigan game, but ultimately couldn't make it work with his high school schedule. Not to be deterred so easily, Bo did make it into town for the North Carolina came and by all accounts had a great time. Bo's father loved the summer visit and the academic side of Notre Dame, too.
It's a little hard to nail down his measurements exactly - at Rivals, he's listed at 6'4" and 189 lbs on his profile page but 6'3" and 200 lbs on his Rivals highlight video, while at 247 his profile lists him at 6'3.5" and 215 lbs and at ESPN his profile lists him at 6'4" and 202 lbs. Whatever height and weight he actually is, the consistent note is that he's fast and he has great upside as a speed rusher. It's also a testament to the hard work put in by Kerry Cooks that we were able to pull a kid from John Curtis, a Louisiana school that sends kids to top programs all around the country.
Something to keep in mind: Notre Dame also recently offered Hunter Dale, a 2015 safety prospect, and offered 2016 OT Willie Allen (247C #34 overall, #6 OT) back in April. Both are teammates of Wallace's at John Curtis.
Wallace, who is an avid Twitter user, announced his commitment this evening:
I guess it's a perfect time to tell everyone that I'm committed to the University of Notre Dame #GoIrish— Almighty7⃣ (@_BoWallace) October 12, 2014
Recruiting Service Rankings
Rivals - 3-star (5.7 rating), not ranked overall, #27 position (OLB), #20 in Louisiana
247 - 3-star (89 rating), not ranked overall, #28 position (OLB), #18 in Louisiana
ESPN - 4-star (80 rating), not ranked overall, #23 position (OLB), #19 in Louisiana
Scout - Not ranked overall, #51 position (OLB), #25 in Louisiana
247 Composite - 3-star (0.8722 rating), #433 overall, #31 position (OLB), #20 in Louisiana
This clip shows three reps of pass rushing drills at the Dallas NFTC camp back in April - even in that brief sample, you can see that Wallace is a handful. Looking through some other highlights from his junior year, the same traits present themselves over and over. He's definitely fast, but also surprisingly strong given his slight frame, with a great motor and very active hands. It's clear why the words "upside" and "potential" get thrown around about Wallace.
As talented as he may be, Wallace will definitely need some time to build up his physique. While ranked as an outside linebacker by the services, the Irish are definitely projecting him as a rush end and they have a lot of company in that projection on the recruiting trail. Wallace will probably have to add at least 30-40 pounds to be ready to make a significant contribution, which more or less guarantees a redshirt year in 2015. That's even easier to project with Notre Dame currently preserving redshirts for an entire defensive line of true freshmen - Jhonny Williams, Jay Hayes, Pete Mokwuah, and Jon Bonner.
Everything hinges on development, of course, but Wallace has the physical tools to become an every-down defensive end and a nightmare pass rusher. Bo is a great example of a prospect whose rankings don't align with his offer list - he holds offers from Arizona State, Florida State, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, and UCLA. There's a reason those programs all offered Wallace, and that reason is what he could be when he polishes that raw talent. The guess here is that we'll see Wallace used situationally in 2016 and significantly in 2017, and we'll have a lot of fun watching him terrorize opposing quarterbacks.
Welcome to Notre Dame, Bo!