Player Profile: Mike WallaceWhen it comes to sports, there are some guys who are content to be role players – and then there’s Mike Wallace. Wallace has never been one to settle for mediocrity, and his work ethic and drive have gotten him to the place he is today, as one of the most valued wide receivers in the NFL.
Wallace made a late-game switch coming out of high school – he had originally signed to play for Oregon State, but decided to instead follow his coach to Ole Miss. That decision turned out to be a good one, because he flourished as a wideout and returner for the Runnin’ Rebels for four years in the talent-laden SEC against many of the best teams in the country. Wallace finished his senior season on many of the all-time lists at Mississippi, including No. 5 in receiving yards, No. 2 in all-purpose yards and No. 3 in touchdown receptions, all while establishing single-season records for kickoff return yards and all-purpose yards.
Despite his impressive college resume and second-fastest 40-yard dash time at the NFL Scouting Combine, he was the 11th wide receiver taken in the NFL Draft, landing with the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 84 overall. It didn’t take long for Wallace to prove his worth at the next level, however, as he became a hero of sorts in his rookie season, notching his first 100-yard game and also catching a game-winning TD as time expired to beat the Green Bay Packers. The expectations for Wallace were great coming out of that promising rookie season, and they got even bigger with the loss of Santonio Holmes in the Steelers’ lineup in 2010, which moved him all the way up to No. 2 on the wide receiver depth chart in just his second season in the NFL.
While many thought it would be hard to top the dramatics of his first year, 2010 actually proved to be Wallace’s standout season. He finished the year with the third-most receiving yards in the AFC, had seven 100-yard games and reached the end zone 10 times. Even better, he helped lead the Steelers to Super Bowl XLV, where he racked up 89 yards on nine receptions, including one TD, in their loss to the Packers.
Wallace has continued to pad his resume, as he was named to his first Pro Bowl in 2011. Following the conclusion of the 2012 season, he was one of the most sought-after free agents on the market, and though he was reportedly offered the same contract by multiple teams (and even more from the Vikings, his father said), Wallace chose to bring his talents to South Beach, where he hopes to be a part of building the Dolphins into the championship contender that Pittsburgh was.
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