Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Josh Wallace, Wolverine


(image via Twitter)

UMass transfer target Josh Wallace has committed to Michigan. He picked Michigan over offers from Iowa, Oklahoma, and Virginia Tech.

Wallace was listed at 6'0" and 190 lbs. last season for the Minutemen. He's a two-time captain and started 34 games over parts of four seasons. Last year he made 41 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions, 1 fumble recovery, and 8 pass breakups.

Hit the jump for more.

Originally a 3-star recruit in the class of 2019, he's using his COVID exemption to gain one extra year of eligibility to come play in Ann Arbor. Former Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown was Wallace's head coach last season, and former Michigan linebacker Mike McCray was a member of the defensive staff in Amherst.

I have watched very limited film on Wallace because nobody watches UMass games, and it's even tough to find useful highlight reels from their games, let alone on individual players. One of Wallace's interceptions came against Buffalo, but the other one came against FCS Stony Brook. Overall, in what limited amounts I have seen of him, I don't see anything noteworthy. He has decent size and is a solid run defender, but his speed and ball skills are unexceptional.

This does not change my opinion much about Michigan's cornerback situation, which is precarious. I think Amorion Walker looked bad in the spring game, and Wallace would have looked better, but not great. Walker clearly has more upside since he's faster and is 4" taller, but Wallace has a ton more experience. Michigan has improved its pass rush with off-season moves, and they're going to have to get to the quarterback more frequently, because D.J. Turner II won't be blanketing fast receivers on the back end.

On the plus side, Mike Macdonald and Jesse Minter - Michigan's last two defensive coordinators - have shown a willingness to adjust scheme more than Don Brown did. While Brown had corners that kept getting cooked in man coverage but he still kept running man, I believe Minter will adjust his coverages if Walker and/or Wallace can't keep up. Will Johnson is obviously the #1 corner, and then Walker and Wallace can battle it out for the #2 spot, with nickel corner Mike Sainristil also factoring in (whether he moves to the outside or just helps out in the slot).

Wallace is the eighth transfer Michigan has landed this off-season, by far the most significant transfer haul in program history.


  1. Agree regarding Minter. Maybe this kid can push Walker, and we at least get a decent #2 out of the battle

  2. Big get for our hopes to repeat as champs

  3. At the risk of making a dumb prediction, I think this is a hugely impactful signing. Wallace may well start of the year at CB1 but may also close the year at CB3. I don't think the distinction matters as much as others seem to think because either way that guy is on the field a whole lot. As such, I don't really see this addition as just something that raises the floor of the team but one that just flat out makes us better when it comes to those critical snaps that will occur against OSU (and likely other high octane passing offenses).

    Even great players like Johnson and Woodson were not ready for primetime the first half of their freshman seasons and Michigan's non-freshman CBs are recovering from injury (McBurrows) or functionally freshman (Walker). So I think even if you take an optimistic stance on what the "ceiling" is of the CB room -- Wallace raises it substantially.

    As far as the impact on the program this is equivalent to adding a 4-star recruit IMO. Unfortunately neither the recruiting sites nor our fanbase seem to view it this way given the relatively modest excitement levels I've observed. It's a new world out there and people are adapting still I think.

    1. The prediction part I guess is that Wallace will be out there against OSU's monsterous receiving corp in November. I don't know how well he'll do because it's a tough ask but I think if we win that game we'll likely be able to look back to early June as a pivotal recruiting win that contributed.

  4. Agree with all of that. Think you have to view this as a “value over replacement” situation and “average Big10 starter” has to be superior to the uncertainty we’re looking at now.