At nine years old, Deuce Wallace would run up and down the hill at Cajun Field during UL football games.
“My focus was not on the game,” Deuce laughs. “It was finding my group of friends and rolling up and down that hill.
“I said can you see yourself playing down there,” his dad Donnie Wallace asked him. “He looks at me and says, yeah I can see that.”
Now a Louisiana team captain on the Wuerffel Trophy watch list, Deuce is paving a storied path in Lafayette.
However, he isn’t the first Wallace who’s name was etched in vermilion and white stitching on a Cajun football jersey.
In the halls of the Leon Moncla training facility, Deuce finds a familiar face in the legendary football pictures, his dad Donnie Wallace.
“You know how dads hype up their stories,” Deuce laughs. “He always got faster and stronger in his stories, but from what I heard he was an effective quarterback. He was just a good leader.”
“I don’t think Deuce thought I even played ball,” Donnie laughs. “He thought I was just saying that because he never would listen. When I would have somebody like Marshall Faulk or Bo Jackson talk to him, he would come back and tell me what they said, knowing I had already said it.”
Donnie Wallace quarterbacked the Cajuns in the early 1980s.
“It was the best years of my life,” Donnie says. “We had three winning seasons, I ended up playing at quarterback from sophomore on.”
Make no mistake though. It wasn’t Deuce’s last name or DNA that earned him a spot on the UL roster. He proved himself by earning a scholarship prior to his junior season.
“That was after my third year, which is a long time to really not be on the field and be on scout team,” Deuce says. “It made it even better because I avoided all the stuff like if I would’ve gotten one out of high school it would’ve been like you only got one because your dad is Donnie, you know.”
“He actually achieved the scholarship, voted team captain as a junior,” Donnie says. “Those things, yeah, it makes you a little proud. I would say hey maybe the kid has figured it out.”
The topic of conversation easily leads to what happens on the gridiron.
“We just pick each others’ brains because we both played directly opposite of each other,” Deuce says. “I’m picking his brain on what he thinks as a quarterback.”
For Donnie and Deuce, the bond stretches far beyond the university they represent.
“That’s my best friend,” Deuce says. “That’s my go-to.”
“It’s the friendship,” Donnie says. “I smile because it’s pretty funny most times.”
Despite the impact Donnie and Deuce have already left on the game of football in Acadiana, there’s one more piece to the Wallace legacy puzzle.
“When you say legacy, I think if you could just say that Donnie Wallace played here as a quarterback and his son actually ended up playing here as a safety,” Donnie says. “Now if Dane comes to play here, you might be able to put the word legacy on it.”
“I’m gonna do my best,” Deuce’s brother Dane Wallace says. “I know they put a lot of work in. They expect a lot from me. I’m gonna give them everything I got everyday.”
He’s the one Donnie throws to and Deuce defends when the Wallace family is tossing the pigskin in the backyard.
LCA senior wide receiver Dane Wallace.
“Everytime when they can get home eventually, because my dad is traveling a lot and Deuce is with school,” Dane says. “When we can, it’s a lot more fun when we can get it in.”
“I’m doing him justice just by giving him blueprints,” Deuce says. “Me playing defensive back, him playing receiver, I can tell him exactly what I’m looking for, exactly what I want him to do. I kind of give him tips and tricks to make his game better.”
Past. Present. And future. The story of the Wallace family continues to be scripted. It’s not certain yet where Dane’s chapter will take place, but Deuce is making the most of his final chapter in the vermilion and white.