Guyer safety Jordan Wallace has never met his famous second cousin.
But on Monday morning, the senior-to-be committed to spend his collegiate career where Seneca Wallace starred as an Iowa State quarterback in the early 2000s.
Jordan Wallace committed to Iowa State after a weekend visit to Ames, Iowa, and recently receiving an offer from the Cyclones. Oral commitments are nonbinding. The first day a class of 2015 recruit can sign a national letter of intent is Feb. 4.
“It’s pretty awesome because my cousin Seneca went there,” Wallace said. “I get to follow in his footsteps. Big 12 football is what I want to play. I like that style. Growing up in Texas, that’s what you know.”
Wallace recently picked up considerable interest from North Texas and Toledo, but he said Iowa State just seemed like a good fit after the weekend visit with his family. He also credited a quick relationship he built with ISU secondary coach Maurice Linguist.
“I wanted a family environment and a good strength program, because at Guyer we have a good strength program,” Wallace said. “Me and the secondary coach connected really well. He motivates people to work hard every day, and I really liked that.”
Wallace was a first-time starter last year as a junior and was a huge part of a turnaround in the Guyer secondary — a key part of the team’s overall defensive resurgence in 2013.
Wallace, a rangy 6-1, 180-pound safety, compiled 86 tackles with 10 of those coming behind the line of scrimmage. He didn’t have an interception, but he did break up 10 passes.
Guyer head coach John Walsh said his lack of turnovers isn’t from a lack of playmaking ability, and he said he expects to see more of Wallace showing up in the stat line in 2014 when Guyer jumps up to Class 6A.
“What he shows on film is how physical he is when he fits the run holes,” Walsh said. “What people haven’t seen yet is how our safeties [Wallace and Ian Edwards] can defend the pass. Our defensive line puts so much pressure on people that you couldn’t attack our safeties.
“Going to 6A, Jordan and Ian will both show up better in pass coverage. It takes time to throw on safeties. You can throw on linebackers and cornerbacks quick, but you need time to get on those safeties. Our defensive line is still really good, but we’ll be facing some better offensive lines.”
Walsh said Wallace’s size and football instincts make him an appealing recruit for Football Bowl Subdivision programs.
“He has a little bit of everything,” Walsh said. “He’s intelligent and understands coverages and is extremely athletic and long. Everyone looks for long defensive backs, and he’s definitely that with some good ball skills.”
On the weekend visit, Wallace said he and his father — Seneca Wallace’s first cousin — had their picture taken in front of a big picture of the former Cyclone standout in his Cleveland Browns uniform. Wallace has spent time with Seattle, Cleveland, New Orleans, San Francisco and Green Bay in the NFL. He’s currently a free agent.
Wallace has started 22 NFL games under center, throwing for 4,947 yards, 31 touchdowns and 19 interceptions in his 10 seasons.
“When they found out [about the relationship to Seneca Wallace], they thought that was pretty awesome,” Wallace said of the Iowa State coaches.
Before he follows in his famous relative’s footsteps, Jordan Wallace has one more season at Guyer with some lofty goals coming off the program’s two straight Class 4A Division I state titles.
“It’s a huge weight off my shoulders to get this [commitment] out of the way,” Wallace said. “I can just focus on the season now and focus on getting another ring.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872 and via Twitter at @aboedeker.