Auburn Football: With Zeke Pike Gone, Jonathan Wallace Is Ready to Step Up
Not often during summer workouts does a star recruit get sent home for disciplinary reasons. This past week, Zeke Pike was arrested for public intoxication, leading to his eventual return home to Kentucky for at least the remainder of the summer.
The assumed suspension opens up a new door for another incoming quarterback from the 2012 season, Jonathan Wallace. Wallace signed with Auburn late in the process after previously being committed to Central Florida. Wallace is a recruit that has been consistently overlooked and an addition to the 2012 class that appeared to be a last-minute option.
Wallace lists at 6'2", 205 pounds and was rated as the No. 25 dual-threat quarterback in the country, according to Rivals.com, for the 2012 class. Watching film, he has earned every bit of that ranking and has the potential to be a special quarterback at Auburn.
When the Tigers first began to pursue Wallace, fans and pundits alike assumed that he would be led towards another position once he made it to campus. With the recent suspension and unknown status of Zeke Pike, Wallace becomes the third scholarship quarterback on roster.
Looking for a school to join this spring, Wallace was looking for the chance to play quarterback. Auburn offered that option, but now that option is a must. The Tigers need three quarterbacks to compete in the SEC. Injuries occur constantly, and not having quality backup play can kill a season.
Wallace may have come in and been an option to shift positions and move to receiver due to his athleticism, but Wallace also has a live arm and can make plays on the run. Despite the athleticism that Wallace possesses, he is a pass-first quarterback who constantly keeps his eyes downfield looking for open receiver options.
Will Zeke Pike Return to Auburn?
With new offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler having a knack for developing quarterback talent, Wallace could quickly become a formidable backup at the quarterback position for the Tigers.
While playing for Central High School in Phenix City, Ala., Wallace showed great defensive reading ability and did a great job at finding the open windows in the defense. He also has a strong arm that gives him the ability to make every throw at the college level.
Wallace was a recruit that was forgotten by most Auburn fans after signing day, but don’t be surprised if his name begins to arise this summer and fall as a great backup option for the Tigers at quarterback.
In no way am I saying that the Zeke Pike days at Auburn are over, but there will be a ton of work to do for him to earn his way back into the good graces of the coaching staff. In the meantime, Jonathan Wallace will happily take the spotlight of the third string quarterback and should develop into a solid future option for the Tigers.
Wallace passed for 1,761 yards in his senior season while adding 891 yards on the ground. He totaled 40 touchdowns both on the ground and through the air. Wallace was also a part of the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic.
The talent and experience is found in Wallace, but the whispers have been missing as Pike has taken the majority of the 2012 recruiting spotlight. Now with Pike on the back burner for at least the summer, Wallace has the chance to show his worth to the Tigers team.
As the Tigers look to shake out the final lineup as the season draws near, crucial reps will fall to Wallace and likely solidify his position as the third option in the Auburn quarterback race before the start of fall camp.
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