CLICK HERE to view in higher quality
(Written by Louis Rossi for NJSI.NET) Sincere devotion to a sport is the trademark of a true athlete; a competitor that spares no expense when it comes to developing their craft. Dedication at that level requires an immense commitment on the part of an athlete – be it a professional playing before millions on a national stage, or a first year junior varsity try-out hoping they’re good enough to make the cut. It is for these reasons that those fortunate enough to make that cut and continue on to the bigger stages professional athletics has to offer ever make it out of the locker room.
Commitment is a word you’ll hear often in sports. Commitment on a play, a committed performance, a committed comeback – you get the idea. You rarely hear it refer to athletes when they aren’t in the game. How often have you heard the NFL broadcasters talk about the star quarterback’s time spent off the field, doing everything he could to learn from his mistakes and continue his winning streak? Almost never, but why is that? Because it goes unsaid; those players that we watch every week have been committed, dedicated players for years – learning, every step of the way.
While Jennifer Ross doesn’t play in front of millions on a weekly basis, her commitment is just as outstanding and genuine. It is rare to see a player just three-years into a sport make every conceivable effort to immerse themselves in it.
By Anthony Caruso III for NJSI.net
Cody Wallace, a Senior Moorestown High School Offensive Lineman, recently took time to do a Q & A feature interview with njsi.net. His Q & A feature interview is about his playing career.
njsi.net: Could you talk about your overall experience playing football for Moorestown High School?
Cody Wallace: “It was a great experience the past couple of years, especially with the coaches. We had a great coaching staff and they really worked hard to help us (the players). They brought out the best in all of the players. It’s a great team to play for and a great town to play for.”
njsi.net: Your head coach at Moorestown High School is Russ Horton. Could you talk about playing for him the past few years?
CW: “He’s a really great coach to play for. He sets high standards and you really have to play hard. He’s a really good guy to play for, and he brings out the best in most of the players.”
njsi.net: What is the best advice that you have ever received from Coach Horton from your time playing for him?
CW: “Just to play hard and never have any regrets when you play.”
njsi.net: What did it mean to you guys to go to the State Championship game last year at Rutgers Stadium and winning it?
CW: “It was unbelievable. No words can really describe it. It was a long road to get there and we won when we got there. It’s the great feeling ever!”
njsi.net: During your sophomore year, Coach Horton and some of his coaching staff knew that you were starting to get recognized for your play on the field by colleges. Could you talk about getting recognized, starting your sophomore year and building off of that this year, your senior year?
CW: “I was surprised that I was getting as much recognition sophomore year as I did. But it was all a positive thing and its still soaking in with what has happened. Coming up through these years, I’ve gotten better each year and getting more recognition. Its been great!”
njsi.net: You’ve also played on the defensive line in high school. And some media outlets were saying that you were being recruited to play defense in college by some schools, which is still possible. Would you just like to be an offensive lineman in college or play both ways, even though the majority of the players do not play both ways in college?
CW: “I would rather play offense. That’s where my strong point is rather than playing defense.”
njsi.net: You also were a member of the wrestling team at Moorestown. Could you talk about being a member of the wrestling team at Moorestown?
CW: “Again, we have very good coaches. I am not wrestling this year, though. The head coach Bill Clark is a really great guy, and does everything he can to help the team win. He’s also another great coach to play for. Words can’t describe what a great guy he is to his family and to his players. He really cares about the sport and his players.”
njsi.net: Some reports say you were recruited by UCF (University of Central Florida), Rutgers, Maryland, Penn St., Miami, and Virginia. Why did you chose to go to Virginia?
CW: “I took a visit in June, and I really liked the campus and the town — the community and the atmosphere around it was unbelievable. I think it was a really great pick for me, and I can’t wait to get down there.”
njsi.net: During your recruiting visit, were you able to meet with Virginia head coach Al Groh? And what was it like meeting with him?
CW: “It was brief, because it was before a game. And he was really excited about the game that day. Prior to the game, I talked to him in his office and its really good down there. He’s a really good coach and its more family-based, which I liked. He really cares about the players and he puts the players in a position to succeed from what he was telling me.”
njsi.net: Al Groh was previously the New York Jets head coach, before arriving in Charlottesville, Virginia. Did his prior coaching experience in the NFL have anything to do with you signing there?
CW: “Sort of, but not really, though. I just really liked the team. His prior coaching experience is pretty impressive and he’s had a really good coaching career. His knowledge of the game and the way he coaches the game helped. I really liked the team and the community in general.”
njsi.net: In June, you were the third offensive lineman to sign with Virginia at that time. Why do you think colleges are signing players so early on in the recruiting process?
CW: “I would assume that they would like to get a jump on the players early on, because there’s a lot more competition between schools. There’s only so many lineman and so many other players to go around. They just want to get a jump, before other schools do.”
njsi.net: As you are probably aware of, Chris Long — 2008 first-round pick, D’Brickashaw Ferguson —2006 first-round pick, among others, have went on to the NFL from the University of Virginia. Do you realize that you could go on to the next level from playing at Virginia?
CW: “That would be unbelievable. Virginia is a really good team and really brings out the best in most of its players to help them go onto the next level. And I hope that works out for me, too. They really bring out the best in the offensive lineman at the school. Its just a really good situation for me.”
njsi.net: You are from Willingboro. Did you ever think about going to Willingboro High School? And why did you chose to go to Holy Cross?
Dan Dash: “I thought about going to Willingboro High School. Both my two older brothers and sisters go there now. And my two younger brothers and sister are going to go there, as she is a cheerleader and would like to be a cheerleader there. I wanted to be different and go somewhere different than them. I knew Holy Cross had good academics and a good football team.”