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Football: Former Oregon LB trying to join Mean Green

Profile image for By Brett Vito / Staff Writer
By Brett Vito / Staff Writer

Anthony Wallace, a former All-America linebacker at Dallas Skyline who spent the first two years of his college career at Oregon, could soon be on his way to North Texas.

Wallace left Oregon after the fall semester and announced his intentions to transfer in early January. He said Tuesday that UNT is his likely destination, if he can work through some final details over the next few days.

“UNT is my No. 1 right now,” Wallace said. “That is where I’m going to end up going. I’m trying to enroll and schedule a sit-down with the coaches.”

Wallace is one of two players who said this week that they are finalizing decisions to become members of UNT’s 2014 recruiting class.

DeSoto defensive tackle Shaquel Jackson said late Monday that he also has committed to UNT and plans to cement that decision once he visits the school.

Oral commitments are nonbinding. The first day recruits in the class of 2014 can sign national letters of intent is Feb. 5.

Wallace has received his release from Oregon and will have three years to use his final two seasons of eligibility.

Wallace said he plans on finalizing his decision to go to UNT by early next week and enroll at the school over the summer. Continuing his career in the Dallas-Fort Worth area was appealing to Wallace, who said he has several relatives in poor health, including his grandmother and an aunt and uncle who are both battling cancer.

“Family comes first,” Wallace said. “I felt like I needed to be here, close to home.”

Wallace was among the top prospects in the nation his senior season, when and ranked him sixth on their lists of the top inside linebacker prospects in the class of 2011. Wallace played in the Under Armour High School All-America Game following his senior season.

Wallace could find a perfect fit at UNT, which will be looking for a new middle linebacker following the 2013 season, when Zach Orr, a two-time second-team All-Sun Belt Conference pick, will be a senior.

“I really like that they play a 4-3 defense,” Wallace said. “I feel like I fit in. It presents me an opportunity with Orr leaving. It will give me a chance to come in and earn the position.”

Jackson, who is just over 6 feet tall and weighs 285 pounds, also feels like he can make an impact early on in his career. He was a first-team All-District 7-5A selection last season and is familiar with UNT’s program largely because of its connection to DeSoto. Orr and running back Antoinne Jimmerson are former DeSoto standouts, while Jackson’s teammate and fellow defensive lineman Johnavhon Grahm has committed to UNT.

“They told me that if I chose to come there to be prepared to work hard and not take any days off,” Jackson said. “They say it’s nice, but I have to come and see it for myself.”

What Jackson has learned so far made him comfortable with committing to UNT before visiting the school.

UNT cornerbacks coach Ryan Walters recruited Jackson.

“I feel like it will be a great move for me,” Jackson said. “I have the potential to play as a freshman. Coach Mac [UNT head coach Dan McCarney] will let me show what I’ve got. I want to get right to it. I’m greedy for the game of football and want to be out there on game night.”

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 or via Twitter at @brettvito.

North Texas commitments

The following is a list of players who have committed to become members of North Texas’ 2014 signing class:

Johnavhon Grahm, DE, DeSoto

Shaquel Jackson, DT, DeSoto

Anthony Wallace, LB, Oregon (Dallas Skyline)*

* Transfer who will sit out the 2013 season