Cleveland Wallace III, was a second-team All-Mountain West defensive back in 2014. He shared the conference lead and was tied for 19th nationally in the category of passes defensed, which combines interceptions and passes broken up. Wallace was part of the number-one pass defense nationally in terms of fewest yards allowed, but wasn't fully satisfied with his overall play and the outcome of the 2014 season.
"Honestly, I took away that I didn't make enough plays. I left a lot of plays on the field. Those PBU's (pass break-ups) are dropped passes that could be interceptions in my book. I didn't do much and I'm looking forward to this season. A lot of them should have been interceptions. That's not normally like me to drop the ball. I used to play receiver. Catching was something I do daily. I have to take advantage of the opportunities I get especially this upcoming season.
Last year, we (the defensive secondary) did good, but we could have done so much better. One of the main things is, people don't see it, even us ourselves, we left a lot of plays on the field. A lot of plays we left on the field could have dramatically changed a game. Last year was last year." Wallace summarized the first two days of practice and the leadership traits shown by team captains Jimmy Pruitt, Christian Tago, Tyler Ervin and Wes Schweitzer during the summer.
"The first two days were pretty simple. There were base installs, things we were practicing by ourselves over the summer. So, we know it pretty well. That's the main part -- technical things. (Coach) Donté (Williams) is on our technique every little step -- telling us how important the little things are. That's how the first two days have been.
"I think that (discipline) comes from our captains -- (Christian) Tago, Jimmy (Pruitt) and those guys. They do a great job making sure we stay in line, making sure we do what we have to do. We have a lot of leaders on the team. After last season, we want to take things seriously. We know it's the small things between winning and losing.
"Anything you do counts. It doesn't matter if it's at home, whether it's on the field, a little step, a misplace there. You have to do everything perfect. That's the difference between winning and losing. You have to be locked in with attention to detail all the time. That's the main thing we learned."
Wallace shared what he did over the summer to work on his opportunities to intercept passes. While some players use a high-speed machine that shoots footballs into a player's grasp, the junior from San Jose relied on teammate Jimmy Pruitt, a former quarterback in high school, to offer a more realistic game situation.
"My thing is I'll try to go out there with the guys. I'll do my back pedal, then turn and have Jimmy (Pruitt) launch a ball 50 yards down the field and try to catch it that way. That's more efficient for me. I get two things done at once."
We'll see how Cleveland Wallace III's multi-tasking is when the season starts at home on September 3 vs. New Hampshire in a 7:00 p.m. game. Tickets in all price ranges are available by calling (408) 924-SJTX or by visiting sjsuspartans.com.