FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Outside linebacker Catrell Wallace led a defense that dominated Fayetteville as Bryant won 42-13 at Harmon Field.
Wallace, 6-6, 215, finished the game with eight tackles, two quarterback hurries and a pass breakup that he almost picked off for a touchdown. Wallace showed his speed in the game as he was all over the field.
“It’s just an advantage,” Wallace said of his speed. “People really don’t look at me being a speed guy. On film I don’t look too fast. In the game I feel like the adrenaline gives me a bigger boost or something like that.”
Bryant took a 42-6 lead with 11:17 remaining in the third quarterback thus causing the sportsmanship rule with a running clock for remainder of the game. Despite the big lead Wallace played the entire game except for a couple of late series.
“Usually the coach would take us out around the mid-third quarter, but the past year we’ve only by a total of two or three points (against Fayetteville),” Wallace said. “He wanted to make a statement.”
Bryant has now basically blasted three teams in a row. They beat a very good Bryant team 42-14 in the Salt Bowl, topped Bentonville West 38-0 and now Fayetteville. Bryant lost 24 seniors off a state championship team, but appears to maybe be better.
“We’re just practicing harder,” Wallace said. “Practicing every day of the week. We’re in the weight room five days a week. Coach pushes us to be the best every day. We’re just needing what needs to be done.”
Wallace committed to Arkansas on Sept 1. He chose the Hogs over such schools as Oklahoma State, Virginia, Nebraska and Ole Miss. What have you seen from the 2-1 Razorbacks this season?
“I’ve seen a growth in the offense,” Wallace said. “They’re really coming together. They’ve got five new starters freshmen. They’re just building a bond. I like what they are doing. I like the coaches and how they’re slowly progressing.”
Arkansas assistant Steve Caldwell spent his birthday at Wallace’s game watching the future Razorback play.
“He told me he was coming to the game,” Wallace said. “It made me feel warm inside to know he was watching.”
Wallace was unaware it was Caldwell’s birthday until informed by a reporter.
“Got the win for him too,” Wallace said smiling. “Got the win for him.”
What aspects of your game have you improved from the past year?
“I feel like I’ve gotten way better reading my keys and being able to make more plays,” Wallace said. “Developing myself as a player. Getting my speed and strength up. My knowledge of the game I feel has gotten all higher.”
Wallace has taken on an additional leadership role with him now being a senior.
“I consider a big leader,” Wallace said. “When we’re down or even when we’re up I keep the team on their feet. I just make sure they are doing great. I consider myself a leader.”
As far as his weight, Wallace hopes to continue to add some as the season progresses.
“By the end of the season hopefully 220, 225 somewhere up there,” Wallace said.
With Bryant, Wallace lines up at outside linebacker most of the time, but also puts his hand down at defensive end some. What will be his role at Arkansas?
“They are talking to me about play a hybrid toward the boundary,” Wallace said. “Like third down and longs I back into the pass or rush the passer whatever they want.”
Originally Wallace planned to take all five of visits before he pledged to the Hogs at the beginning of this month.
“I wanted to get out of the way,” Wallace said. “In case I get hurt I wanted something to fall back on. They said they wouldn’t pull my offer if I did. They are great coaches that just kept up with me. They talked to me everyday, checked on me, my family and it felt just like I was home.”
Wallace talked about conversations he has with current Razorbacks.
“I know a couple of players that came from Bryant, Cameron Vail and Brenden Young,” Wallace said. “I talk to them some. Then I have other linebackers I talk to like Scoota (Harris).”
Bryant head coach Buck James is pleased to have Wallace on his team. The rangy linebacker helped them win a state championship in 2018 and they are considered the team to beat this year.
“He missed a few tackles and that’s uncharacteristic,” James said. “But he was physical. I thought he was very physical. He put pressure on the quarterback and hit him hard. He really changed the tempo of the game. They were looking to see where he was at. He’s like a knot when he hits you it hurts. He’s still got a lot of room to improve, but he can run and does a lot of good stuff for our football team.
“The thing I like about him is he’s a good leader. He does a good job in the locker room and practice fields. I think he makes the team better.”
James talked about Wallace’s obvious gift of his speed.
“I talked to college coaches about it when he was a sophomore and junior,” James said. “We played him on kickoff team and he was the first one down the field. He’s fearless.
“I’m telling you now when he gets to be a big, strong kid he’s gonna be something to reckon with. He has got so much upside. I think he’s really raw right now, but his upside is tremendous. He can run and he’s agile. For a guy who is 6-6, 215 or 220 pounds in high school he’s not gonna do anything but get better as he gets bigger and stronger.”