If Shaquem Griffin represents the players that made their NFL dreams a reality in getting drafted regardless of personal obstacles, then Levi Wallace is a beacon for those that take advantage in signing as undrafted free agents and creating success.
Of all the four and five-star athletes Nick Saban gets at the University of Alabama, it was a former walk-on that generated the most noise in 2017.
A native of Tuscon, Ariz., Wallace received an athletic scholarship in 2016, however, it was when he took the starting job at left corner from Trevon Diggs in the team’s season opener versus Florida State that turned heads.
He shut down the left side of the field in a 24-7 win and continued to do it throughout the season, to a tune of 15 pass breakups and three interceptions. Wallace turned in a pick-six against Mississippi and held quarterbacks to a 32.7 percent completion mark — when throwing on his side.
After finishing the Crimson Tide’s national title run as one of its top tacklers, Wallace posted a 40-time of 4.63 seconds at the NFL Combine. While he’s undersized at cornerback, standing at 6-feet and 179 pounds, his arm length of 32 ¾” makes him a sound technician in man coverage.
NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo took part in Buffalo Bills’ rookie minicamp over the weekend and when it comes to naming impact players, he didn’t shy away from dropping Wallace in the mix.
What were the impressions of the @buffalobills' 1st round picks during rookie camp?
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) May 14, 2018
“What he lacks in physicality, he makes up for on the mental side,” Garafolo said on Wallace. “He was breaking on a lot of routes. Don’t discount Levi Wallace from making this team and becoming an impact player.”
Wallace becomes the third walk-on from Alabama that Saban has placed in the National Football League, joining safety Rashad Johnson in 2009 and tight end/H-back Michael Nysewander in 2016 (signed with Chiefs, but was cut).
The road ahead of him will be tough, yet hearing positive things on Wallace does the heart of Crimson Tide fans well.