For a week or so, there have been many thoughts and comments swirling around in Cardinal Blog sites regarding Anthony “Ace” Wales and his commitment to the University of Louisville. Things such as the timing of his commitment, if his commitment had been accepted, would his injury push him to be a red or gray shirt, and would he be unreceptive to red or gray shirt status. Cardinal Dominance was able to sit down and talk with new recruit Anthony “Ace” Wales. He spoke about these things, his grades and his educational pursuits, what he wants to accomplish on the field, and why he chose the Cardinals to pursue his athletic and educational pursuits – and become the face of Louisville Football.
Walking into the nest of the Central Yellow Jackets immediately caused a rush of old memories to flood my thoughts of guys like Ron King, Wayne Golden, and Coach William Graves. I was apprehensive as this was a tough place to be when you were aligned with the Yellow Jackets’ opponent. All of Central’s teams were dangerously quick and the term “quick on quick” had to be first spoken by someone trying to explain the blur of Otto Petty. My river of thoughts quickly dissolved into a small eddy as I walked through the lobby to the office to start my interview process but then the gates to the dam were open again and my thoughts of the past gushed as I spied posters of Muhammad Ali. With his likeness, there were with a few of his motivational thoughts and comments aimed at the young minds of the patrons of Central High. Then just like Ali’s largeness, I noticed that the Black and Yellow colors of the Central Yellow Jackets were everywhere and I wondered if his “sting like a bee” fighting analogy was conjured up by Ali in that same Yellow Jacket lobby I was walking through.
Upon meeting Anthony, the first question that immediately sprang from my being was if the kids knew who Ali was and that he was one of them. Anthony seriously replied “oh, yes we do …. It is an honor to be at the same school and know that a great person like him was here. Even when we play, we think of Muhammad Ali.”
Ace’s U-tube Recruiting Video even reflects the impact of “The Greatest” and once again the torrent of thoughts of a long ago time make you visualize an Ali entrance to a press conference or the ring for a championship fight . The voice of Bundini Brown, Ali’s long time handler, announces the Champ’s presence just like the Senate Sergeant-of-Arms announces the entrance of the President to a session of Congress. However, on Ace’s video, the first thing you hear is Central Head Football Coach and U of L Graduate and Football player Ty Scroggins fire his troupes up just as you remember being fired up by your coach before an athletic contest. And then as you listen to Bundini and notice the changes in the reflection of his voice, thoughts of Frazier and Foreman and Liston explain why we call Ali “The Greatest.” And like an atomic bomb, a flash of reality explodes across your physic as a voice resonates and spews from your very own mouth with words of “WOW! Did you see that guy who was carrying the football go into a pile of about 8 guys ---- and then come out on the other side ???” and then, “Oh my gosh, did you see that guy go sideways and make that guy miss and then juke that other guy out and then outrun those 3 other closing warriors????” and “For goodness sakes! He did it again --- and again!!!!!!!!” The plays showing Anthony Ace Wales abilities are absolutely incredible. His ability to shake and bake, slide laterally, juke, and offer the limp leg make him as slippery as a mud puppy and make good football players miss and miss and miss and look foolish. At future games, every time he touches the football for the Cards will be a time when you will stay in your Papa Johns seats and concentrate on what is happening on the field. You will know you don’t want to miss what could be the play of the game. The concession stands personnel will become as lonely as the Maytag repair man when the Cards Offence has the football. Quit reading and watch Ace’s U-tube recruiting tape now. Click on “I want to be amazed” ---- and when you watch it enough times to get your fill, hit the back button for this article and the rest of what Anthony Wales has to say --- such as his eye watering speed . Ace was timed at 4.39 for the 40 at this past summer’s uk Football camp “but I usually average out at 4.43 or 4.44.”
Anthony Wales also writes for YJT, the Yellow Jacket Times, his Central High’s blog/newspaper. His article called “Shake and Bake” explains his thoughts on how to rush the football. You will be able to read his works on Cardinal Dominance soon. Regarding his pursuit of academic interests at U of L, Ace pointed out “I plan to take either Broadcasting or English Education.” His jaw line, his eyes, and his smooth gate of expression should give him a real opportunity to pursue either career. His academic success should help, too, as he has an over all 3.0 after posting a 3.8 this past semester.
When asked about his bench press high, he related “the most I use to go was 225 ….. but with my shoulder injury, I can’t really do anything now. My rehab will start February 1st but right now, I can only work on my legs.”
Wales' High School career ended when he hurt himself in the next to last game of the season on the first play. He was 12 yards short of breaking the state record for total rushing yards in his four year High School career. He reacted with the following: “it is a little bit (disappointing). I was just trying to help my team get the victory and that’s what we got so I was happy …. I have three state championships now.”
The discussion moved into his possibility of becoming a Red Shirt and Gray Shirt due to his injury. His thoughts were “if I am not at 100% ….. I would Gray Shirt to help …. I would need to get better and get stronger.” He has had some conversations with U of L about that potential.
An hour after the announced signing of Miami Running Back Brandon Radcliff, Anthony’s commitment to the Louisville Football program was found out. A certain person expressed that Ace made up his mind at that point because of Brandon’s signing and that even possibly his commitment wasn’t made to the staff --- much less being accepted by the staff. This awful and baseless rumor was totally unfounded although the source of the rumor explains why the rumor was let. Wales cleared everything up when he divulged “I had committed to Coach Strong (and Bedford) two weeks ago but I just told them I wasn’t ready to put it out to the media yet. So I called them this weekend and told them I was ready to put it out to the media.”
When asked why he made the decision to commit to U of L, Anthony responded “I picked U of L because I felt like it was a family there and everybody was striving for the same things. I want to be a part of a big Bowl Game and that is what all of those guys want to do. I felt like the Coaches were real and didn’t jive me or anything --- I just felt like everything they were saying was real. It’s a nice program on the rise.”
I requested that Anthony add what he is personally like. He very humbly and very softly answered “I’m a good guy and I work hard. I just want to be a hometown hero. I want to be the guy who did it like Michael Bush and Jeff Brohm did it. I just want to be one of those guys from Louisville who help put Louisville back on the (Football) map again.”
After the interview, I had to go find Anne Rodier, faculty sponsor of YJT, who graciously allowed CD to reprint some of Ace’s and other students’ articles --- articles that reflect the thoughts of some of our inner city kids who are trying to be successful in these tough times. Seeking Ms. Rodier allowed me to rummage alone through the halls and stairwells of Central High School. Trying to be the only person to be walking down a stair case where everyone else was walking up brought back memories of many years ago while feeling like a salmon fighting the currents to get upstream. Listening to the laughter and seeing the smiles as the kids went to their next period class was also a gentle nudge into past days. After checking out at the office, seeing the first poster of Ali brought a smile to my soul as I walked through the final Black and Yellow Lobby of the Central High School Yellow Jackets.
I feel I learned a lot about one of the Cardinal’s up and coming stars. I originally felt that dispelling the inaccuracies in the commitment of Anthony would be the most important outcome in this article. However, I found this wasn’t the case. Not only did I find how much I personally like Muhammad Ali and his history, but I also found that Anthony “Ace” Wales is a sincere and bright guy with loads of potential --- and he wants to be a hometown hero on our behalf. Without a doubt, he is going to be one guy who we all are going to like --- and like to watch.
Head Coach Ty Scroggins with Anthony and the 2011 State Football Championship Trophy