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Cornerback transfer Josh Wallace hopes to take leadership and turn it into success

Wallace arrived in Ann Arbor ready to find new ways to improve his game and help the team reach its goals.

NCAA Football: Massachusetts at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan drew in some intriguing incoming talent this past year, including some who were captains at their former institutions. Cornerback Josh Wallace falls into this mold, drawn to Ann Arbor with hopes of success and increasing his chance to make the leap to the league. Wallace joined Jon Jansen on In the Trenches this week to discuss his decision to join the Wolverines, his development in Ann Arbor the past two months, and what to expect from him in the coming season.

Wallace, originally from the DMV, played his first few years at the University of Massachusetts, including a year under former Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown. When it came time for the UMass captain to make a choice for his new landing spot, Michigan came on his radar. The work ethic and what it means to be a Michigan man captivated the senior defensive back, which made the Wolverines the obvious choice.

“I felt like it was the best place for me,” Wallace explained, “They have their head down, always ready to work, that’s what it takes to be a Michigan man at the end of the day. I felt it was the best situation to develop as a corner.”

Having hardened leadership skills from being named a captain three times at UMass, Wallace shared his ability to still use his voice, despite being a new guy on the scene. The relationships he has built so far with his classmates, in combination with taking the younger guys under his wing, has really helped in his development as a player and a leader.

“I want to develop the most I can and absorb as much football knowledge as I can,” he explained, “One thing I have been told is you have to have your own stuff in order first. My teammates have helped me along the way. For the young guys, I have been trying to help them since I got here.”

Preparing for an instant impact

Formerly a piece in a defensive scheme that Michigan fans know all too well (for better or worse), Wallace noted his ability to learn this new system so quickly was all because of his new teammates. “For me, personally, I have been more in the building. Mike Sainristil has been helping me a lot,” he shared, “We come to the facility together and that’s how I have picked up the playbook so fast.”

Additionally, Wallace has benefited from a high level of communication at practice, which is especially important for players across the secondary. “Coach Clinkscale has been heavy on us about obnoxious communication,” Wallace shared, “That’s what we have been doing, over communicating.”

Ready to make an impact alongside some of the best in the country, Wallace expressed the excitement he feels for the start of the season and for the first time he passes through the tunnel into the Big House. “I am just trying to help the team,” he said, “I see a dynamic offense with two of the best backs and the best QB in the country. I can’t forget the number one offensive line the last two years. The guys in front of me make my job easy. I love those guys. They get active and they are always helping me out.”

Having practiced a few times at Michigan Stadium already, Wallace looks forward to taking the stage in front of 100,000-plus people in the coming fall. “It’s going to be crazy,” he said, “Expect a guy that goes hard every day, who is there for teammates and who makes the most plays.” With the effort he has put forth since arriving on campus, Wallace has a great chance to see the field early and often this season.