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Pearl River hires former Ole Miss QB to lead offense

POPLARVILLE, Miss. — Pearl River’s football program added some SEC flair to its staff Wednesday with the addition of Bo Wallace. The former Ole Miss quarterback and East Mississippi National Champion will be the Wildcats’ co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, head coach Seth Smith announced.

“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to work with Coach Wallace. He’s a guy who has coached and played at a high level,” Smith said. “After meeting with him for about 5 1/2 hours it was clear that his energy, enthusiasm and content knowledge would be a tremendous asset to our staff and our team. We feel like we landed a winner and I know he and coach (David) Chatham are going to work great together.

“We are just excited to get to work and start preparations toward the 2021 season.”

Wallace joins PRCC’s staff after serving in the same capacity at Coahoma this past season.

Wallace said his first meeting with Smith only solidified his desire to be a Wildcat.

“I think my first impression of him was the energy that he brought. As soon as I shook his hand, I knew it was a different type of energy, an energy that I want to be around,” Wallace said. “Also, meeting him I think he can grow me as a person and that’s something I always want to do is just constantly grow and I feel like to go where I want to, that’s a guy I need to be around.”

In a lot of ways, Wallace is the poster child for the junior college system — a lightly recruited prep standout who developed at the two-year level before starring at a major conference.

“His journey exemplifies why most kids come to play junior college football,” Smith said. “It’s for a chance to showcase their skills, help their team win and earn an even greater opportunity to play at a higher level. That is exactly what he did.

“He made the most of his opportunity and we feel like his journey will be relatable to the kids we are trying to recruit.”

Wallace will ultimately call the plays and work closely with Chatham to fine tune the offense, Smith said.

COACHING EXPERIENCE

Wallace was part of a staff overhaul at CCC and helped lead the Tigers to their winningest season in years. Coahoma finished 2020 with a 3-2 record with wins over Itawamba, Holmes and Mississippi Delta after winning just three games total in the previous three seasons.

Wallace’s younger brother, Bryce, handled the lion’s share of the QB duties, CCC completed 60.4 percent of its passes for 973 yards and four touchdowns. CCC also rushed for 1,008 yards and eight touchdowns. The Tigers’ 396.2 yards per game ranked fourth in the MACCC.

In 2019, Wallace was the associate head coach and offensive coordinator at Fayette Ware in Somerville, Tennessee, and was a catalyst for the Wildcats’ turnaround season. The year before, FWHS won just two games, scoring just five points per game. Wallace’s Wildcats improved to 8-2 and scored 30 points per game. Wallace also took over as the head coach of the junior high squad, gaining valuable head coach experience.

Wallace took over as offensive coordinator at his alma mater, Giles County in Pulaski, Tennessee, in 2018, and was able to implement his offense for the first time. The Bobcats finished 6-4, scoring a whopping 54 touchdowns and averaged 286.7 passing yards per game. GCHS also rushed for 1,419 yards and 20 scores. Once again coaching his younger brother, Bryce threw for 2,627 yards and 30 touchdowns.

Wallace made his Mississippi JUCO coaching debut in 2017, returning to EMCC as the Lions’ quarterback coach and assistant strength and conditioning coach.

The Lions posted an 11-1 record that season and defeated Arizona Western to claim the NJCAA Championship — Wallace’s second national title as a Lion. In addition to learning the ropes as a recruiter, Wallace’s QBs passed for 3,045 yards and 21 touchdowns while completing 61.7 percent of their passes.

In 2016, Wallace got his first chance to coach on the offensive side of the ball as quarterback coach at Marshall County High in Lewisburg, Tennessee. Additionally, Wallace got to coach Bryce — then a sophomore — for the first time. While cutting his teeth as an offensive strategist that season, Wallace’s Tigers went 13-2. The quarterback play was a big reason for their success as Bryce completed 71.8 percent of his passes for 31 touchdowns.

Wallace got his coaching start in 2015 at The Episcopal School of Dallas (Texas), leading the defensive backs.

PLAYING EXPERIENCE

Prior to joining the coaching ranks, Wallace was a record-setting quarterback at Ole Miss from 2012-14 under the guidance of head coach Hugh Freeze.

Wallace made an immediate impact, leading Ole Miss to a 6-6 mark and its first bowl appearance in three seasons. Wallace started every game of his Ole Miss career and was the first Reb QB since Romaro Miller (1998-2000) to lead the school to three straight bowl games. Additionally, Wallace helped lead Ole Miss to its most regular season wins since 2003, highest ranking since 1964, and first ever win over the nation’s No. 1 team, a thrilling 23-17 victory over Alabama in 2014.

As a sophomore in 2012, Wallace passed for 2,994 yards and 22 touchdowns and also rushed for 390 and eight TDs. He later earned the Conerly Trophy, given annually to Mississippi’s top college football player. Ole Miss punctuated the turnaround season with a Compass Bowl victory over Pitt and a 7-6 record. In 2013, Wallace passed for 3,346 yards and 18 touchdowns, rushed for 355 and six scores and was once again a finalist for the Conerly. The Rebels finished 8-5 after taking down Georgia Tech in the Music City Bowl. In his final season at Ole Miss, Wallace passed for 3,194 yards and 22 touchdowns and rushed for 199 yards with five TDs. During the Rebels’ nine-win campaign, they climbed as high as No. 3 in the Associated Press Top 25 and played in the Peach Bowl.

Wallace’s name is still scattered throughout Ole Miss’ record book. Wallace is listed 68 times in the almanac of Ole Miss history. Some of the highlights include most career yards (10,478), second-most single-season total offense (3,701), TDs responsible for (82) and career passing yards (9,534). Wallace’s single-season passing totals of 3,346 (2013), 3,194 (2014) and 2,994 (2012) are fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively, for the Rebels.

Wallace was also a Maxwell and Davey O’Brien Award semifinalist.

Prior to leading the Rebels, Wallace became a national name in recruiting circles while leading East Mississippi to the 2011 NJCAA National Championship.

During his single season in Scooba, Wallace set NJCAA single-season offensive marks for most passing yards (4,604) and total yards (4,810) that still stand today. His 53 passing touchdowns were a third record at the time that have subsequently been eclipsed. Wallace’s accolades that season included being a three-time NJCAA Offensive Player of the Week, Region XXIII Most Valuable Player, MACJC Offensive Back MVP for the North Division, NJCAA All-American and the NJCAA Offensive Player of the Year.

Wallace originally signed with Arkansas State, where he spent the 2010 season, but did not see action and was redshirted.

Prior to arriving in Jonesboro, Arkansas, Wallace helped lead Giles County High in Pulaski, Tenn., to a 2009 TSSAA Class 4A State Championship. During his prep career, Wallace was also named The Tennessean’s All-Midstate Player of the Year in 2009 and the Tennessee Titan’s Mr. Football the same season. According to MaxPreps.com, during Wallace’s Giles County High career, he threw for 6,227 yards and 64 touchdowns, including a breakout senior season when he completed 70 percent of his passes for 3,288 yards and 37 touchdowns against just five interceptions. He also rushed for 2,397 yards and 26 touchdowns in his prep career.

Immediately following his collegiate career, Wallace participated in the Kansas City Chiefs’ 2015 rookie minicamp. Rather than pursue several Canadian Football League offers, Wallace opted to embark on his coaching career.