WINCHESTER, Va. - For the next two weeks, the Shenandoah University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is taking a look back at its top moments of 2011-12. Today, we take a look at our No. 5 highlight: Rico Wallace.
Football is the epitome of a team game. Eleven men on a side fighting to carry the ball over two lines set 100-yards apart. No one man can accomplish this task alone. He needs blockers to assist him along the way and at least one teammate to put the ball in his hands at the start of a play.
Even if one side succeeds in crossing that line, they need at least 11 teammates to prevent the opposing team from answering their score.
While it is possible for one man to stand out from the others on a field, by definition that man must truly be special.
In 2011, Rico Wallace was exactly that kind of player for the Shenandoah Hornets.
Starting with his first reception of the fall, a 36-yard TD catch against Stevenson, Wallace was dominant.
That opening reception was one of five TD catches that Wallace had on the night and the first of a program-record 14 he had on the season.
His 67 receptions for 1241 yards were both new season records at Shenandoah and he cracked the 100-yard barrier in eight of the 10 games.
Following the season, he was named first team All-USA South, All-South Region by D3football.com, All-State by the Roanoke Times, All-America by BSN and D3ProDay and was selected to play in the D3Senior Classic All-Star game.
But his most significant accolade didn't come until April.
Almost immediately following the conclusion of the annual NFL draft, Wallace was signed to a free agent contract by the Carolina Panthers.
Wallace left for rookie mini-camp two weeks later and later took part in Organized Team Activities in early June.
He is the first SU football player in the 12-year history of the program to be signed by an NFL team and he holds every significant game, season and career receiving record at Shenandoah.