After his 52 yard Field Goal, John Wallace showing his unemotional demeanor
Did you catch that a school record was tied at the Spring Football Game? Yes, it happened. Red Shirt Freshman John Wallace kicked a 52 yard Field Goal that tied Wilbur Summers from 1975, Ron Ball from 1988, and Klaus Wilmsmeyer in 1989. From the end zone, it looked like John's kick easily carried by 7 or 8 yards. Wallace has a great opportunity to show his capabilities this coming year now that Chris Philpott has graduated. Last year, in an interview with John Wallace and his High School Coach, Mike Lawson, Lawson said John can hit the long Field Goal consistently --- something that Coach Strong did not try too often this past season.
Last May, Cardinal Dominance went to Elizabethtown, KY and Central Hardin High School to speak with Coach Lawson and new U of L signee, John Wallace. The following are high points of the interview with Coach Lawson:
- When addressing Wallace’s greatest attributes, Coach Lawson remarked “John Wallace has uncanny accuracy with the demeanor that you want to see with a place kicker. After he attempts a field goal, you can’t tell by watching him if he made it or not. Emotionally, he is the same --- and that’s what you want with kickers”
- Lawson further spoke, “Leg strength? Tremendous leg strength. But the things that stick out with me are his accuracy and the fact that he has huge upside.”
- And now, here is one key stat: So, ok, Coach, just how strong is Wallace’s leg? Immediately, Lawson replied “he kicked 90% of his kick offs out the back of the end zone this past year.” Later, Wallace confirmed this stat! Holly smoke! Now I know they kick off the 40 yard line in high school versus the 30 yard line in college – but 90% were OUT of the BACK of the End Zone? And he was in High School? Lawson quickly retorted, “I saw him split the uprights three times.” OK, Coach, I’m on the same page with you regarding his leg strength. (NOTE: A new 2012 rule change will position the kick off starting at the 35 yard line.)
- I questioned if John had won any games in the last moments of the contest. Coach Lawson remembered that Wallace, as a Freshman, won a game with a 35 yarder in the last 20 seconds. Also, his Senior year, he won a big game against rival North Hardin at the end of the contest. Those were the only two opportunities he had at the close of a game in High School.
- Coach Lawson did say John missed three Field Goal attempts this year. One was a 59 yarder (barely short), one a 57 yarder (barely wide right). He did hit a wind aided 61 yarder in practice one day. OK, Coach, once again, I understand what you mean when you say “leg strength!” But Coach, the thing that sticks out in your mind about John is his accuracy? Lawson only nodded --- affirmatively.
The following are some of John Wallace’s comments during the same interview:
- John never played football until his Freshman year when his soccer coach, Derrick Willis, now Georgetown College’s Head Coach, asked for a volunteer from the soccer team to try and kick for the Varsity Football Team.
- Incredibly, John broke his back when he was a Sophomore. Later, he learned at a kicking camp if you improperly twist your back when you kick, you can fracture a vertebra. He quit playing soccer for CHHS at that point.
- And here is another stat. Wallace related “my longest kick in a game was 52 yards.” By the way, that would tie U of L’s record longest field goal with the exact same 52 yards. Klaus Wilmsmeyer, Ron Bell, and Wilbur Summers are tied for the honor.
- He spoke about his winning kick as a Freshman at the Larue County Homecoming. “It was only 35 yards.” Yeah, John, that’s a real gimme, isn’t it.
- At the Nike Elite Camp, John was ranked the 6th best kicker in the country in his Freshman class. As a Senior, he was ranked 11th in the country. He was invited to attend the top 12 camp in Los Angeles. But, U of L wanted him to attend a punting and kicking camp in Alabama coached by Mike McCabe. McCabe is the coach for the Garrett Hartley, the Saints kicker (who incidentally, has his longest kick at 52 yards, too) and other top named kickers --- some who were in this year’s pro draft. John will probably go to McCabe’s camp every summer while attending U of L. However, let’s revisit John missing the top 12 camp in Los Angeles. You know how politics work. I wonder how much higher his ranking would have been if he would have attended the Los Angeles top 12 camp?
Incoming Freshman, Josh Appleby showing his form
Still, competition should be pretty stiff next year for the kicker spot. Head Coach Charlie Strong and his staff signed incoming Freshman Josh Appleby who is a 3 star rated kicker. Appleby is a 6’3”, 215 pounder from East Limestone High School in Athens, Alabama. Appleby has a big foot as shown by his 71% Touchback Efficiency on Kick Offs and has won many awards in different Kicking Camps over the last couple years; his long punt was 52 yards; and his longest field goal was 44 yards.
Cardinal Punter #38 Ryan Johnson
Last year, the Punting game was excellent. The Cards placed FIRST IN THE NATION in Punting defense. Where the distance wasn’t exactly eye popping as Chris Philpott and Josh Bleser combined to average a decent 37.3 yards per kick, the hang time and the coverage provided by Senorise Perry, Terell Floyd, Jordon Paschal, Jarel McGriff-Culver, and Long Snapper Grant Donovan was superb in allowing only 7 yards in 13 attempts for the entire year. The Cards Ryan Johnson has the edge to earn punting chores as he performed well at the Spring Game although Wallace and Appleby will be pushing Johnson.
Coach Kenny Carter with excellent return defender Jarel McGriff-Culver.
Coach Carter headed up the Cards #1 Punt Return Defense in the country.
If the Spring Game was an official game, John Wallace would have tied the school record for longest Field Goals. In High School, he is the 2nd all time in Made Field Goals in the State of Kentucky. At this point, John Wallace is definitely the guy to watch this next Fall as the Cards will content for the Big East Championship and look for more ways to put points on the board.