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Old 07-17-2018, 11:42 AM   #71
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https://247sports.com/college/notre-...ace-119835885/

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Notre Dame has quality talent at cornerback currently but stocking the shelves in the 2018 and 2019 classes was crucial. K.J. Wallace was a big part of that effort.

Possibly the most well-rounded addition of the 2018 2019 cornerback group (assuming he signs this winter), Wallace is said to have taken a big step forward in his development during this off-season.

The four-star Lovett School star visited Notre Dame recently, getting connected with the incoming freshman as they arrived in South Bend, and re-connecting with coach Todd Lyght and Brian Kelly.

To talk off-season training, look back on his recruitment, his commitment, discuss his fellow Irish commitments, and more, Wallace linked-up with Kevin Sinclair for a Q&A.

Sinclair: Early in your recruitment, it was often discussed that you were an old friend and former teammate of Derrik Allen. Can you explain your connection to Derrik?

Wallace: I met Derrik when I was six. Him and his family. We both played ball at the same organization. He was always a year ahead of me. Weve known each other from there. We were both really good back then, both running around the edge, scoring touchdowns. Weve come to know each other from there.

Its a really good association. Now that I think about it; me, Derrik Allen, Trevor Lawrence, and a few other kids actually played in that same little league, little team. Its cool. And Minnesota (freshman running back) Noland Edmonds. We all played on the same little league team. I was a year younger.

Sinclair: During the time Notre Dame offered you, which wasnt long before you committed, which programs were recruiting you consistently around that time December - January?

Wallace: Id say Penn State, Stanford, Auburn, Cal for sure, and a little bit of Florida.

Im not really big on social media. Thats probably why (people didnt realize who was recruiting me).

Sinclair: Your Junior Day visit in January seemed to seal-the-deal for you. How would you explain the basis of your commitment?

Wallace: Ive been to a lot of places. It was just a different feeling. Ive been to almost every SEC school. Ive been out West. Ive been out to Texas, not to the schools but that state and saw everything theyve got going on. I mean, it was like I didnt feel like I was going to get a better deal of big-time football and academics and a lot of connections, a lot of people there to help you out. I was just, like, I might as well. This is it right here.

Sinclair: Todd Lyght is clearly leading your recruitment. What are your thoughts on coach Lyght? Is his background something that stands out to you?

Wallace: Yeah, actually, because its one thing to teach me something, but its another thing if youve done it. You know what Im saying? So, you literally know what youre talking about. Theres a lot of coaches down here that stopped playing football in high school or middle school and its like, OK, you may know the scheme, but you dont know physically what Im doing with my body. If he knows the ins-and-outs of something, I can tell him about it, and he can relate to it.

On top of that, hes just a good guy. He and my pops hang out all the time when they get a chance. They have a good relationship. Hes a cool guy. Definitely someone I can relate to and play for, for four years.

Sinclair: This off-season, theres been talk of you up-ing your game. What areas would you say youve improved?

Wallace: My footwork and just the ins-and-outs of the position. Every time I go to workout or do a drill, I know what its supposed to feel like. I know what its supposed to look like. How my body weight is supposed to be shifted, Im fine-tuning my body. I dont really know how to describe it, but its kind of like this thing where Im trying to be as perfect as possible on every single rep I do. And really, Im working on my mentality. This year, its about dominating. Theres been times, and I think every player goes through it, where you say, I cant have that. I just cant have that this year.

Im just working on my mentality and just fine-tuning my body as a DB. And Im also just getting faster. You can never be too fast.

Sinclair: With yourself, Derrik Allen, and Kyle Hamilton; theres a lot of excitement around a possible Atlanta-area pipeline to Notre Dame. Do you see this being a trend, in that, do you think ND will continue to draw talent from the Atlanta-area, particularly the prep schools?

Wallace: Yeah, because its like a direct transition in that school is hard here and school is going to be hard there. The football is good here. The football is going to be good there. So, I can see how a lot of kids from Atlanta, especially us, going up there because its like, oh, Im used to this.

Not even just prep schools, either. I feel like theres a lot of good schools in Atlanta, public and private, and I just feel like theres a lot of kids attracted to (Notre Dame).

Sinclair: Youve competed against Kyle Hamilton, you two are friends, and you face-off in the season opener. I remember you telling me about him way before he blew up nationally. What are your thoughts on Kyle at the safety position? What stands out about him?

Wallace: Thats my boy. He is a dog. The best way to describe Kyle is untapped potential because, I mean, youre talking about a guy who is just raw. He has never really been to a technique guy, a DB coach, things like that. Yet, he works out himself. When this guy gets some coaching, I feel like hes League-bound. Hes got the size. Hes got the talent. He can put on weight and play outside linebacker. He can put on 15 pounds and be a killer safety. I really think hes got a lot of upside. I think hes got the most upside out of most of the DBs in our class. Its a good look for him.

Sinclair: My last question; what are your thoughts on the Notre Dame 2019 class? What sticks out when you look at the class from top-to-bottom.

Wallace: I think what Im most excited about is how similar we are as people. Its kind of funny. Were all goofy kids, honestly. We all joke around in our group chat. I know well all be up there for the Michigan game. Were just a bunch of regular kids who like to play football, really. We all love the game. We all joke about the same things, girls, Fortnite, food, whatever. I think its going to be fun. I think over the course of our college careers, well become brothers. I can feel it. Were pretty close already, and thats just over a recruit-chat. I think something good is to come.
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Old 09-06-2018, 09:18 AM   #72
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Old 12-19-2018, 07:33 AM   #73
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Last edited by arrowryan; 12-19-2018 at 07:42 AM..
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Old 12-19-2018, 08:14 AM   #74
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Old 12-19-2018, 01:08 PM   #75
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Just listening to Denson being interviewed and he said him and KJ's Dad played together in HS. Sound's like that was a big part of KJ's recruitment.

Never heard that before.
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Old 04-26-2019, 11:52 AM   #76
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One of the first verbal commitments of the 2019 class, K.J. Wallace has had a lot of time to think about his freshman year at Notre Dame.

A workhorse in many respects, the playmaking cornerback is working through extensive technique training along with individualized weight training under a touted professional in Ed Miller in Atlanta a program hes taking on with his future teammates in Kyle Hamilton and JD Bertrand.

With less than two months between now and his South Bend arrival, Irish Illustrated connected with the former four-star to discuss all things related to his off-season preparation.

Sinclair: At Lovett, your coach had told me that he played you at safety to essentially take advantage of your talent all over the field as opposed to you being confined to one side at cornerback. How do you feel about now focusing on your most natural position at cornerback?


Is it a getting back to what I do best feel for you?


Wallace: Itll be a lot better, honestly. Its something that Im used to, so it wont be that hard of a transition to get back to it. Its something Ive been working on a lot this off-season. Ive been working on corner stuff.

It wont be that hard of a transition, its natural for me. Like I said, thats what Ive been working on all off-season. Im just ready to get up there and make an impact early.

Sinclair: I spoke with Ed Miller, your trainer at The Rack about you, Kyle Hamilton, and J.D. Bertrand. He said you tied his gym record in the 10-yard sprint. Tell me about your off-season training and where your improvements may be, what has come of your training.


Wallace: Id say my explosion. A lot of things like box jump and 10-yard sprints. My box jump is now up to 50 (inches). The 10-yard sprint and things that are important like explosion. And just straight technique stuff. I mean, every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, Im working straight technique. I know Im not the tallest person, so technique is something that I have to have. Im going to have to be in the right position. I dont have the length to make up for it but if my technique is where it needs to be, then Ill be good.

This last month before I go up there, conditioning is about to be furious. I dont want to be that freshman where it takes two or three weeks to get caught up conditioning-wise. I want to be right on par with everybody else because I heard from a lot of friends that I know who are playing college football, are in that level right now, have told me that conditioning is what separates you. Thats another thing Im working on.

Sinclair: There are some who think youd succeed at the nickel corner spot, potentially early in your career. What are your thoughts on that potential role?


Wallace: I love it. Honestly, I wouldnt even mind making a career out of that. I am a smaller guy so it would make sense to be with smaller receivers in that sense. But I feel that at nickel, youre in the play the most. Youre closer to the ball, you can make the tackle, and youre also doing what you do best which is covering receivers. So, playing it a bit last year, I actually enjoyed it more so than corner itself.

Wherever I am on the field, safety, nickel, or corner, I just love being on the field. But I do really enjoy nickel with the fact that theres a lot of things you can do you cant blitz at corner all the time, its really obvious. But when youre playing nickel, you can do a lot of things. It allows you to do a lot of things, be really versatile. And thats what I think Im good at as a DB.

Sinclair: Competing against Kyle Hamilton and J.D. Bertrand in Atlanta throughout your life, how special is it to you that youre going to be teammates with them soon at Notre Dame?


Wallace: Its really special. We go to three different schools but for us to lift together at The Rack, it feels different because we were always going to have a brotherhood there, but we built more of a sense of friendship. Weve always been friends because we know each other through football. But now that we see each other three or four times a week, we go out afterward to eat or for conditioning or things like that, you can feel the sense of camaraderie there.

Just the straight competition, me and Kyle compete in everything we do. Pretty much everything, you name it, were competing in it. That, right there, has made us better. So, itll be interesting to see but as far as our class and how were going to fit coming in, I think were going to be ahead of the game. Well see.

Sinclair: We all have a good idea of what Kyle Hamilton brings to the table as he committed early. But with J.D. Bertrand joining the class late, we know less about him. What can you tell us about J.D. that we might now know? Why should we be excited about him?


Wallace: Hes honestly the hardest worker Ive known in my life. We call him Cyborg because hes a machine. All he does is work, he doesnt do anything else. Hes so focused on football. During spring break, instead of going to the beach like everyone else did, he went to Notre Dame and learned the playbook. So, hes probably the hardest working kid youll ever meet in your life. He has no option but to be successful eventually because the kid works six or seven days a week just on football.

The hardest working kid youll ever meet.

Sinclair: With Isaiah Rutherford, what are your thoughts on sort of pairing up with him as the summer-entry freshmen cornerbacks?


Wallace: Thats my dog. I met him, I want to say, the Michigan game, the official that we went on. We were talking about going through the process together. Hes a funny guy. I can see him being my brother for the next four years. Thats my dude. I think were going to have a lot of good times at ND together. I feel like what he brings, what we bring together, will be a good mix. Im excited.
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Old 04-26-2019, 12:52 PM   #77
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I sometimes experience a tinge of jealousy when I read these reports. These kids have their heads on straight and they are smart and athletic and have their whole world ahead of them.

It's great to hear about Bertrand being a machine. We need more ILB competition.

Can't wait for all these guys to get on campus.
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