|EMCC quarterback Bo Wallace caps record-setting year by earning NJCAA Player of the Year honor|
– A record-setting season statistically for a national championship team has landed East Mississippi Community College freshman quarterback Bo Wallace recognition as the 2011 NJCAA Offensive Player of the Year. Wallace, along with NJCAA Defensive Player of the Year recipient Caleb Leichtnam, a freshman defensive back from Rochester Community & Technical College (Minn.), were named Thursday by the NJCAA headquarters on behalf of the NJCAA Football Coaches Association.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.
Wallace, who redshirted at Arkansas State University a year ago, paid immediate dividends during his transfer season with head coach Buddy Stephens’ NJCAA Champion EMCC Lions. As a first-team NJCAA All-American, Wallace established new NJCAA single-season standards for most passing yards (4,604), most yards of total offense (4,810) and most touchdowns thrown (53). Along with completing 336-of-502 (67%) passes, with only 14 interceptions in a dozen outings, Wallace also rushed for 206 yards and five touchdowns on 61 carries to lead East Mississippi to a school-first national football title. He is only the second player in NJCAA history to surpass the 4,000-yard mark passing and the first freshman to win the offensive award since 2004.
“It feels great not only for me, but for my teammates, coaches and the entire East Mississippi Community College family,” Wallace noted about the Lions’ history-making 2011 season. “This season has been a dream year for all of us. It just goes to show how hard work during the off-season can pay off and about what can be achieved when a coaching staff puts players in position to win games.”
A three-time NJCAA Offensive Player of the Week selection this season, Wallace, of Pulaski, Tenn., capped his record-setting campaign by earning Offensive Game MVP honors following the Lions’ 55-47 El Toro Bowl victory over previously unbeaten Arizona Western College in this year’s NJCAA Football Championship Game played Dec. 3 in Yuma, Ariz. Against AWC in the title game, the 6-foot-5, 210-pound signal-caller completed 31-of-44 passes for 486 yards and seven touchdowns, the most ever thrown in an NJCAA-sanctioned national title game.
Wallace’s prolific 2011 season through the air included five games with 400 or more passing yards and four outings with seven touchdown passes. Having thrown for at least three touchdowns in all but one of EMCC’s 12 games this past year, Wallace recorded seven-touchdown outings against AWC and Hinds during the postseason as well as in back-to-back games versus Coahoma and Northeast Mississippi in the regular season. While passing for no less than 276 yards in every contest during the Lions’ perfect 12-0 campaign, Wallace’s top yardage mark on the year was a 549-yard effort on 26-of-33 passing, along with seven scoring tosses and no interceptions, at Northeast.
In directing a potent EMCC offensive attack that averaged an NJCAA-best 389.3 passing yards and 556.3 yards of total offense per game, Wallace was earlier chosen as the 2011 NJCAA Region 23 Most Valuable Player as well as the Offensive Back MVP of the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior College’s (MACJC) North Division. With Wallace as their versatile triggerman, the Lions also averaged 47.4 points per game offensively on the year, including six contests – all coming during the last eight games of the season – with 50 or more points scored.
Annually listed among the nation’s top-rated offensive units dating back to Stephens’ arrival on the Scooba campus, the East Mississippi Lions have now touted an NJCAA All-America quarterback each of the last four seasons. A year ago for EMCC, Brad Henderson, of Starkville, garnered honorable mention accolades prior to moving onto Northwestern (La.) State. Prior to that, current Ole Miss quarterback Randall Mackey, of Bastrop, La., collected first-team NJCAA All-America honors as a sophomore and honorable mention laurels as a freshman in pacing the EMCC Lions to a two-year mark of 19-3, including a school-first MACJC state championship in 2009.
EMCC’s Wallace becomes the first player from a Mississippi-based school to receive NJCAA Player of the Year honors since former Pearl River Community College quarterback Jimmy Oliver claimed back-to-back POTY recognition in 2004 and 2005. Previously, defensive backs Larry Kendrick of PRCC and Jamaal Jackson of Northwest Mississippi grabbed national defensive plaudits in 2003 and 2002, respectively.
Prior to the national office splitting the NJCAA Player of the Year selection into yearly offensive and defensive honorees beginning in 2000, previous national winners from Mississippi-based programs have included running back Terrance Williams (1998) and quarterback Fred Taylor (1995) from Hinds Community College along with quarterback Russell Evans (1992) out of Northwest Mississippi CC.
Before beginning his collegiate career, Wallace completed his prep playing days at Pulaski’s Giles County High School ranked fifth all-time in Tennessee high school history with 8,778 career yards of total offense and seventh all-time with 6,395 career passing yards. In leading the Bobcats to the 2009 Class 4A state championship with a 14-1 record, Wallace was tabbed All-Midstate Player of the Year by The Tennessean newspaper and Region 12-4A MVP as a senior after throwing for 3,288 yards and 37 touchdowns (with only five interceptions) on 205-of-293 (70%) passing. He also rushed for 907 yards and 10 touchdowns on 137 attempts to account for a state-record 4,195 yards of total offense and 47 touchdowns during his final prep campaign.
|Last Updated ( Thursday, 15 December 2011 )|
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