While many are familiar with the G-Men and the incessant work they do on the gridiron come game day, fans and supporters are likely unaware that there is a member of the Student Government Association on the football squad. And he just happens to be president to be exact.
Jonathan Wallace, better known as “J-Dub” around campus, has been a member of the football team since 2013.
Born and raised in Rayville, the mass communication major attended the Rayville school system from elementary through high school. While in school, Wallace excelled not only in the classroom but on the football field as well.
“In high school is where I began to separate myself from the field as a young leader,” Wallace said. “I was voted Mr. RHS my senior year, chosen Who’s Who Among High School Students, and I was an All-State punter. My junior year I was an All-State placekicker.”
Maintaining a 4.0 grade point average as well as the valedictorian of his graduating class, it’s no question that academics is the most important thing to him. Wallace has been on the football team for three years now; having been recruited out of high school by Doug Williams.
“I was the starting punter for the team, and as a true freshman I was able to play in three NFL stadiums Arrowhead Stadium, Lucas Oil Stadium, and Mercedes-Benz Superdome. As an 18 year old that was a great experience.”
It wasn’t until his sophomore year that Wallace began to branch out and come out of his shell.
“I was focused on being a student athlete. In the spring of 2014, I auditioned for the talent show.” Wallace shocked many of the student body with his talent of playing the piano. He not only performed well, but he took home the award for first place.
In the fall of that same year, Wallace had been persuaded to join the Student Government Association.
“Someone saw something in me that I hadn’t seen in myself at the time,” says Wallace. His first position in SGA was junior class Senator under the direction of class president Corey Carroll and former SGA President Erik Johnson. Later on that December he began to take interest in running for SGA President. This past spring semester Wallace beat out his opponents during elections week and once voting had closed, he was officially announced as the 2015-2016 SGA President.
How does he balance both football and politics in addition to academics?
“I’m always looking for challenges. I never look for anything easy that I can complete. I look for things that will challenge me in the long run. My determination and drive to succeed comes from the people around me; my SGA staff and my teammates,” says Wallace.
If you aren’t familiar with the players’ faces and their jersey numbers you might easily confuse Wallace with the starting quarterback Johnathan Williams. “Our names are spelled similarly (mine is Jonathan, his number is 17, mine is 7). I love this guy dearly and we tease each other about it all the time. People always get us mixed up, with interviews, stats, around campus, etc. I kick the ball, he runs with it.”
While the average college student’s day begins around 8 or 9 in the morning, things are different for Wallace. “My days start at 6 a.m. and I’m usually not in the bed until around midnight.”
The 20 year old finds inspiration in head coach Broderick Fobbs. “He allowed me the opportunity to get so involved in SGA and him being the type of head coach he is, I bring it to SGA.”
Living by his own personal philosophy, “If you don’t work you don’t eat,” the Rayville native firmly stands behind the belief that one’s work has to match his or her determination. “There’s no way around it.”