Wallace Grows Into A Terp Standout
The transition from a high school sports star to a collegiate student-athlete was not easy for Terrapin senior defensive end Al Wallace.
A talented running back and wide receiver at Spanish River High School in Del ray Beach, Fla., Wallace was a redshirt during his inaugural season in College Park and did not play a down. In the classroom, Wallace said, he did not do much more than he did on the field.
Facing disappoint on two fronts, Wallace said that he went home following his freshman season and was scared into growing up a lot quicker than he had expected.
"I really thought about it and really grew up a lot over the that summer," said Wallace. "I decided I wanted more from my life than partying every night and not getting it done."
Bringing his new attitude back with him to his sophomore year, Wallace began excelling both in the classroom and on the playing field. His maturation was so complete, that Wallace's coaches say he had handled the rigors of being a student-athlete as well as any player they had ever coached.
"It's a tremendous adjustment for anybody," said defensive end coach Peter McCarty. "He's made the adjustment as well as, if not the best, of anyone I've been around."
Wallace's personal growth has earned him All-ACC Academic honors twice, in both 1994 and 1995. Last year, he was named to the Athletic Director's Honor Roll for both the fall and spring semesters. he earned a 3.66 last fall and a 3.0 during the spring semester.
At the start of practice his freshman year, Wallace was supposed to play at outside linebacker for pass coverage purposes. After witnessing one of the largest growth spurts they had ever seen, the Terp coaching staff moved him to a rush defensive end position.
"He has realized one of the biggest growth spurts of anyone on this football team," said McCarty. "Over time, he has been able to do a great job in the weight room, and increasingly gain weight to make himself the physical player (6-4, 244) that he is right now."
Wallace said it took a while to adjust to playing defense. As his playing time increased during the last three seasons his production has skyrocketed.
In 1994, he led the Terps in both sacks (three) and tackles for minus yardage. An injury against West Virginia, slowed his progress but he still managed 39 tackles.
When asked how he maintained his outstanding academic stature and still held to his rigorous athletic schedule, Wallace speaks about the dedication which he has found within himself.
"You have to find a way," explained Wallace. "There are a lot of things football players have to do in a day: class, practice and having to find time to study. You have to know yourself, and you have to find time and kind of force yourself."
Terps Westley Named ACC Football Rookie of The Week
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- True freshman running back Harold Westley, who rushed for a career high 120 yards versus Wake Forest on Saturday was named the ACC Rookie of the Week by the Atlantic Coast Sports Writers Asociation. It is the first time Westley has been so honored.
Maryland travels to Duke on Saturday.
Westley became the first true freshman at Maryland since 1990 and only the third in school history to gain 100 yards rushing in a single game as he accounted for 120 rushing yards versus Wake Forest. In addition, his 10.9 yards per carry marked the best ever average by a true freshman and is the fourth best per carry average in Maryland history.
Westley teamed with junior Buddy Rodgers to become the first Terps tandem to gain 100 rushing yards in a single game since Rick Badanjek (217 yards) and Alvin Blount (104 yards) ran past the century mark versus Virginia on Nov. 17, 1984.
Westley also scored his second career touchdown on a 39-yard carry in the fourth quarter of Saturday's victory.
In amassing his 120 net yards, Westley was productive on nine carries for positive yards, with two carries of 30 yards or more and four carries for 10 yards or more. His nine carries for 120 positive yards averaged out to 13.3 yards per carry. he ran for three first downs and accounted for nearly 35 percent of Marylandís 335 total yards on the ground.
Westley carried three times for 28 yards in the first half and eight times for 92 yards in the second half. His 92 second half yards surpassed his previous career best of 57 yards versus Northern Illinois on Aug. 31, 1996.
Westley is currently Maryland's leading rusher with 288 yards. He is bidding to become the first true freshman to lead the Terps in rushing since Steve Atkins in 1975 and only the second true freshman to lead the program in rushing in its history.