WR | Oklahoma State Cowboys | 5-11 | 193 lbs.
Over the last three NFL seasons, wide receivers who predominantly lined up on the outside have run five particular routes for about 75% of total routes. Those five routes are Gos, Hitches, Outs, Slants, and Crossers. For WRs playing from the slot, these five routes are also featured, at slightly altered%ages, for a nearly identical combined total. The final 25% will be distributed among Ins, Posts, Corners, some Screens, and the rest on exotic combo routes when split wide. For slot WRs, the majority of that 25% will go toward Screens and shallow work in the flat. Whenever I make references to “NFL routes” in these Dyno rookie profiles, those are the guidelines I am following.
Prior to relocating to Stillwater, Oklahoma to attend Oklahoma State, Tylan Wallace’s entire life was spent in Fort Worth, Texas. However, his dream to play in the NFL was shared by someone very close to him: his twin brother, Tracin. Their Pee Wee football coaches would end up referring to Tylan and Tracin as Superman and Batman, respectively. The dynamic duo would also star together in baseball and track. During their age-14, freshman season at South Hills High School, it was Tracin who carried the football team on his shoulders at quarterback, and ultimately named the District 7-4A Offensive Newcomer of the Year.
Tracin would feed his brother with 587 receiving yards and five TDs that season. But he would also pass for a total of 1,859 yards, 18 TDs to 10 INTs, and rush for 760 yards and 13 TDs. The following season, Tracin would once again star. He garnered the District 7-5A Offensive MVP after throwing for 2,123 yards, 30 TDs to only three INTs, and rushing for 1,393 yards and 22 TDs. Tylan would chip in 801 receiving, 149 rushing yards of his own. Everything changed in 2016 during their Age 16 season. Tracin tore an ACL during a fall scrimmage that forced him to miss his entire junior season. His absence would set the stage for Tylan’s breakout.
Tylan would be forced to rely on backup Trey Jones, who himself would end up winning the District 7-4A Offensive Newcomer of the Year. The fact that Tylan would register 59 receptions, 1,439 yards, and 20 TDs definitely played a massive role in the accolade. Tracin returned the following season, tossing 334 yards, four TDs to zero INTs, and rushing for 239 yards and three more TDs over the first two games before tearing the same ACL. The Scorpions’ 10 personnel offense employed by JJ Resendez was surprisingly extremely run-heavy with a nearly four-to-one run-to-pass ratio in 2017. Tylan still managed to produce 933 receiving yards, and 12 TDs.
Tylan would earn 16 scholarship offers from schools including Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Michigan, Oregon, Washington, Maryland, Arizona State, and TCU. Tracin would collect half of that, mostly from Group of Five programs. But the twins had no desire in separating, accepting scholarships to play for Okie State since it was one of the only schools to recruit them both. Tracin, unfortunately, would retire from football after tearing his ACL, yet again, during his freshman season, and requiring a fourth operation. He remained at Oklahoma State to pursue his degree, and support his brother.
As an 18-year-old true freshman for the Cowboys, Tylan would work as the primary kick returner while a WR group consisting of James Washington, Marcell Ateman, Chris Lacy, Jalen McCleskey, Dillon Stoner, and Tyron Johnson combined for 4,500 receiving yards during Mason Rudolph’s final season in Stillwater. McCleskey would eventually transfer to Tulane and Washington, Ateman, and Lacy would follow Rudolph to the NFL. With over 70% of Oklahoma State’s 2017 targets up for grabs, Wallace wasted no time establishing himself as new starting QB Taylor Cornelius’ No. 1 target. By season’s end, Wallace would be one-of-three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award. He would finish the season leading the nation in receptions of 10 yards or more (63), and second in receptions of 20-or-more (25).
The three most frequently expressed negatives from his high school scouting were that Wallace was too skinny, lacked elite speed, and — the one that I still can’t believe — had limitations in his route-running precision. The first two on that list are somewhat understandable upon viewing footage of his senior season at South Hills HS. The video shows us that he was a long strider, still growing within his frame, especially his lower half. The knocks on his route profile can be explained by running the vast majority of his routes on Gos and Posts. Wallace played his HS ball facing competition ranked outside of the top-2,000 schools nationally. Winning 73% of his games didn’t leave much reasoning left for the offense to work on the shorter stuff. This partially explains why Wallace’s scouting ranks would fall all over the place — WR13 by ESPN, WR17 by 247Sports, and WR29 by Rivals.
At The Opening Regionals in ‘16, Wallace would record promising times in the 40-yard dash (4.58), and short shuttle (4.20). As we’ll see in his college footage, it was rather surprising his vertical was “only” measured at 34.1 inches. I’ll give you a sneak peak at his hops with a powerful dunk from Wallace on this HS video.
I always like to use the most comprehensive highlight reels during these reviews. So, it was disappointing to learn we don’t have much to choose from compiled from a true sophomore campaign in which he ran well over 500 routes. So, here are links to videos of either full footage or highlights of each of his games from the 2018 season that I highly suggest you watch:
However, for our film review of Wallace’s season, we’ll use this video from his age-19, 2018 season. The first clip is from Week 9 facing Texas. Viewing the first clips of a player's college season after only watching HS film is always a great way to instantly spot developing athletic characteristics. In the clip, Wallace is running a Post against the Longhorns in a Cover 4. With the middle of the field (MOF) open in “Quarters,” that is one of the most efficient routes of attack — a very similar example is shown at 2:18. I feel it is instantly obvious that Wallace has spent considerable time working on his legs in the weight room. That lanky, open field long-striding from Wallace has been completely eliminated. Instead, we see he’s compacted his form, running much lower to the ground.
We see Wallace scoring on an End Zone Fade at 0:43 against an overmatched South Alabama — another shown at 4:59. His 10/166/1 day facing the Jaguars foretold his bright future. At the 1:03 mark, Wallace burns past Boise State CB Avery Williams on a fake screen, run-through that’s slightly underthrown by Cornelius. Wallace’s HS footage offers plenty of evidence in support of his vertical game. By the end of his career, Wallace would collect 39 receptions of 20-or-more yards, 29 on Go’s. We have an example on a Go (1:40) where he fights off the man coverage, hand fighting by Texas Tech’s Adrian Frye, and maintains possession after the hard hit from Jah'shawn Johnson.
You might see similarities between the Go at 1:58 and the previous play. “Tylan Stylin” established plays very similar to these as textbook within his profile by the end of his college career. Isolated right opposite trips, Wallace splits the Cover 6 work by Iowa State’s Brian Peavy and Braxton Lewis to secure the ball during a high-scoring affair. Another pattern that emerges is Cornelius underarming a ton of his throws to Wallace. We see more examples on a Slant-and-Go at 2:35, a straight Go at 3:11, and a poorly-placed Back Shoulder Go at 3:26.
Makes one wonder just how many TDs Wallace would have scored beyond his 12 that season had Cornelius consistently hit him in stride like he does at 4:25. Pretty clear that Wallace’s speed is not an issue blazing past Oklahoma’s Tre Norwood here or Texas’ Kris Boyd at 4:35 on deep 8R’s/Posts. But it’s no surprise why Wallace quickly earned a reputation for highpointing deep throws in traffic when so many were underthrown.
Since his route running profile was cited by HS scouts as lacking, I feel it’s important to discuss this aspect of his game in detail. However, these highlight reels are rarely assembled with the underneath, NFL routes alongside the deep stuff. Case-in-point, Wallace ran the same number of Hitches as Go’s, and where he caught nearly 40% more balls in 2018. Not a single Hitch is shown in this video. At 1:17 in the film, you can see the amount of work Wallace has devoted to route running on this sharp Slant across from Kansas’ Corione Harris. Perhaps Keith Washington II should be asked about Wallace’s functional strength in their faceoffs (4:02 and 4:59). The slant at 5:16 is simply a thing of beauty. Wallace uses the press attempt by Baylor’s Kalon Barnes as his break, creating a full yard of separation for the TD.
For the review of Wallace’s true junior, 2019 season, we’ll use this video. Sean Gleeson, a former QB, took over as Oklahoma State’s OC when Mike Yurcich took the job as the passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Ohio State in ‘19. Gleeson would install Ivy League routes from his Princeton coaching days during his only season in Stillwater. That includes a big increase in designed screens. Gleeson would also greatly reduce usage of 10 personnel, more than doubling the rate of 11 personnel. Wallace would be asked to run block at a 20% higher clip, allowing him more opportunities to showcase what is easily the most aggressive, elite blocking ability in the entire WR class.
To get things started, should his drafting NFL team decide to utilize him out of the slot, the designed screens on the first two clips, as well as at 1:31, 5:13, 6.44, 7:43, and especially at 8:23 provide an idea of his elusiveness in space. As a reminder, rookie slots will be asked to run more patterns to the flats than all of their other routes. Wallace didn’t spend much time in the slot over his OKS career but, when he did, his production remained entirely consistent. We see Wallace on Tunnel screens at 6:58 and 7:05. While the motion comes post-snap, it allows Wallace to generate speed. You’ll need to watch some full-game footage for the evidence, but Wallace shreds his opponents with pre-snap motion. Over his NCAA Career, his yardage per route would increase by nearly 20% when motioned.
Revisiting his route running profile, Wallace is seen turning Oregon State’s JoJo Forest in a circle on a 29R/Slant-and-Go at 0:49. Wallace’s route running skills were clearly underutilized at South Hills HS. Of course, we see Wallace go up to collect another of his classic highpoints in traffic on the rope from Spencer Sanders. We have an example of a traditional Slant at 5:46. Wallace and Chuba Hubbard would both thrive on RPOs (Run-Pass Option) such as on this play. The Slant is also a great example of the difficulty of playing Man coverage on Wallace. If not for Sanders’ throw being egregiously behind Wallace, it would’ve been an automatic six points. Running a Slant on only 5% of career routes as a starter, Wallace would score 19% of his TDs. We see one of those at 7:14. TT CB DaMarcus Fields doesn’t have a chance. A final Slant example is shown at 8:13.
I definitely want to point the spotlight on the Hitches run by Wallace on the video since they were left out of his true sophomore reel. Our first example is shown at the 1:21 mark. Nothing extraordinary, but vital to an NFL WR profile. Our next is at 2:45 vs. McNeese State. The work after the catch is nice, but the opponent is literally out of its league. But I love the hitch at 3:11 facing Reggie Robinson II. Wallace eludes the press from Robinson, works to the sticks for the first. Flawless. We have an identical example — minus the jam — at 3:29.
At the 5:20 mark, Texas is essentially handing Wallace the first on a second-and-four Hitch. They just didn’t expect Wallace to break Josh Thompson’s tackle. Fighting through first contact is a trait missing in many NFL WRs. For Wallace, it’s elemental. In the NFL, the ball will already be in the air on most Hitches before Wallace completes his route. Judging from the lightning quick turn at 6:35, the throw from Sanders is 1.5 seconds late. Wallace still accelerates through Ja'Marcus Ingram’s tackle. By the time Wallace runs another Hitch at 6:52, I’ve seen enough explosion off the line, masking his intentions, and followed up with the necessary sharp sit to check all of the boxes on this particular route. Additional examples are shown at 8:54 and 9:01.
Our first Out example finds Wallace wide open due to the corner blitz at 4:38. Out routes are a great way of attacking Quarter-Quarter-Half (Cover 6). Even with seven dropping back into coverage, Wallace still uses the Out at 5:56 to pick up 13 yards. Another excellent pattern of zone attack is the In/Dig route. We see one facing Texas’ Cover 2 at 4:19, best viewed from the end zone camera at 4:29. Sanders makes a proper diagnosis of the Longhorns leaving the MOF vulnerable, scrambling out of the pocket to give Wallace time to complete the pattern. The mid-air adjustment to highpoint the ball is beautiful. We have another example at 7:34.
If one complaint can still be made about Wallace’s route profile, it’s with the lack of XRs/Crossing routes. To be clear, it’s the most common route missing from college WR arsenals. But outside rookie WRs will be asked to run Crossers more than any other sans Go’s. During his three seasons as a starter with the Cowboys, Oklahoma State called on their WRs to run 5% or fewer Crossers each year. So the blame does not fall on Wallace. Nevertheless, we see him burn both Caden Sterns and Chris Brown with another mid-air spin on a Crosser at 4:49, focused view at 5:02.
Film from Wallace wouldn’t be complete without his vertical work. The abuse applied to Brandon Johnson from the slot at 3:38 should be patented at this point. Sanders has all day to work in the pocket, yet still badly underthrows Wallace. If he hits him in stride, he’s gone. He doesn’t. So, we get to see another example of his over-the-shoulder concentration, vice-like hands in traffic, and fighting through first contact using his strong lower half.
A perfect example of how deadly an aggressive Go can be to a Cover 1 is shown at 6:05. With only the single-high safety (Jonathan Alexander), AJ Parker is isolated on an island with Wallace. Tylan continues to show us that all of his extremely athletic traits we’ve seen are legitimate.
The way we’ve seen Wallace manipulate his coverage is already at an NFL-level during his Age 20 season. For a prime example, check out what he does to Kalon Barnes, one of the fastest players in the country, on a Go at 7:56. Simply extraordinary.
Take a look at how much designed space Kansas State DC Scottie Hazelton gives Wallace at 5:26 in fear of his vertical ability. That’s a lot of respect. Sanders and Wallace aren’t satisfied with simply running a Hitch off of the RPO, they attack the MOF left open by the Wildcats’ Cover 4. When KSU closes off the MOF at 5:34 in a Cover 3, we can see Landon Wolf running a bubble underneath that Wallace uses to make Parker respect a potential screen. That slight hesitation combined with another RPO provides enough separation on the Post for Sanders to hit Wallace with a dime, gaining 22 yards. Wallace’s ability to attack these zones combined with his blocking ability truly set him above the class.
After surgery to repair an ACL tear in November that cut his season short, Wallace could’ve hightailed it to the NFL aboard a train, fueled by his true junior body of work. With HC Mike Gundy’s comment in mind describing Wallace as a “workaholic” on and off the field, it should come as no surprise that he returned for the 2020 season to leave no doubt that he and his right knee are ready for the NFL. Wallace would bang his right knee December 5 on the final play of the third quarter at TCU. However, he would return to face Miami (FL) in the Cheez-It Bowl 24 days later. We’ll use this video to evaluate those true senior results.
Sean Gleeson would jet to New Jersey — his home state — to work under Greg Schiano as OC for Rutgers. After nine seasons as Oklahoma State’s WR Coach, former Houston Oilers WR Kasey Dunn would see his responsibilities grow to include OC and associate HC. Dunn would maintain the personnel package adjustments made by Gleeson, but would cut down on the WR screens by a third. It’s no surprise that he would feature greater usage of NFL routes since he previously spent two seasons coaching the Seattle Seahawks’ RBs.
Wallace’s long-awaited return did not start off as planned. Spencer Sanders ended up injuring his own knee on the third series facing Tulsa in Week 1. Sanders was first replaced by a gruesomely-ineffective Ethan Bullock. After going the entire first half without a catch, Wallace would still end up nearly hitting 100 receiving yards (99). That includes gaining two-thirds of that yardage, as well as drawing a 15-yard pass interference penalty, on only six dropbacks when four-star true freshman Shane Illingworth finally took over under center.
Bullock is shown finally finding Wallace for his first ‘20 catch on the opening clip. The next play we see Illingworth at QB, with Wallace (once again) manipulating his Man coverage, Allie Green IV, for a big pickup. Green forces Wallace out-of-bounds (0:20) on another Go down the boundary sideline, but never misses a step toward claiming the ball. Hubbard would punch it in on the next play for the game-deciding score. At the 1:48 mark, we see more Man coverage manipulation on a Go. Nasty! With Sanders making his return to the field facing Texas, Wallace would submit what is likely the most impressive game of his career. The Back Shoulder Go vs. Josh Thompson at 3:35 circles all of Wallace’s remarkable attributes. But his finest catch of the season is on the Go at 5:20 facing Texas Tech. Far from done, Wallace cruises past TCUs C.J. Ceasar II on this Out-and-Up for a 55-yard TD… the play on which he tweaks his knee.
In addition to Gos, Dunn would also feature the Out. While you can’t see the pattern from the view shown at 2:25, Wallace runs a Blaze Out that freezes Elijah Jones on his heels for the TD. At 2:35 and 2:44 in the video, Wallace is provided with a cushion in Cover 1 by Iowa State’s Anthony Johnson Jr. Wallace knows the exact location of the sticks for his break on both Out examples to convert the third downs. We see Wallace attacking Johnson with an Out, once again, this time in a Cover 2 at 2:55. Wallace attacks Texas’ Cover 4 with an Out at 3:28. It’s simply another day at the office for Wallace on another Out facing the Longhorns in Quarters at 3:44. Our final Out example is shown at 3:57.
We see Wallace from the slot on a Crosser opposed by the Texas Cover 4 at 3:50 in the video. NFL LBs will be eaten alive, exactly as LB Juwan Mitchell is here, should Wallace convert to the slot at the next level. The third route featured by Dunn would be the Hitch. Watch what Wallace does on a Hitch to Tre Brown when illegally contacting him beyond five yards (4:35). Brown ends being tossed out of the view, turning what should’ve been a 12-yard gain into 25. Wallace takes advantage of Damarcus Fields’ over-aggressiveness — as he would do all game — with an impressive Hitch vs. Cover 3 at 5:00. And we see another across from Fields in Cover 1 at 5:10. Returning after banging his knee in Week 14, we see Wallace snag a final Hitch at 6:38.
When Wallace faces Cover 2 in the NFL, he’ll see the majority of it from a “Tampa 2.” You can see an example of the scheme at 0:55. West Virginia’s Noah Guzman makes a late shift deep out of the box to join the other two deep safeties. Illingworth does a tremendous job recognizing the coverage, beginning his motion — freeze the play at 0:57 — precisely when Wallace is jammed at the 14 by Nicktroy Fortune. Both Illingworth and Wallace know Fortune will not drop deep, so they will have a window off the press to complete the Go — a similar play with Sanders at QB can be found at 4:51. High-level stuff from a true frosh, much of the same from Wallace. Tylan makes a cut to force a missed tackle by Alonzo Addae, carries Fortune nine yards before two additional defenders finally bring him down.
Let me be clear, the WVU secondary is packed to the gills with future NFL talent. At 1:15, we see Wallace fighting off the press, NFL-level man coverage by Fortune on the Slant. Perfection. He shows off his off-the-line wiggle on another Slant facing Kansas at 10:17. When D.J. Graham fails to get his hands on him off the line in the OU Cover 2 (4:44), Wallace’s slant spells out impending doom. Hurricanes’ CB DJ Ivey has nothing in man on Wallace’s slant at 6:49.
Dunn wouldn’t entirely eliminate WR screens from the formula. We have an example at 2:16 with Dillon Stoner providing an excellent cut block. Wallace shows us here that the knee injury had no effect on his acceleration or explosiveness. We also have another tunnel screen allowing Wallace to accelerate into the catch facing Oklahoma at 4:27. He’s a man possessed. You can find additional screens from Wallace at 5:33, 6:56, and isolated in the left flat on a hot read at 7:04.
I mentioned that I would highlight reasoning for why I was surprised by the 34.1 inch vertical recorded by Wallace coming out of HS. Take a gander at the end zone view of his vertical at 1:38. No running start, just pure leaping ability. And it’s a shame we didn’t get to see Wallace used more on end zone fades during his career. You likely get the idea upon viewing the example at 4:04 — another view at 4:18 — defended by Jalen Green’s best efforts.
In an attempt to explain the type of impact Wallace has “just” with his run blocking, I’ll pull an example from the 2019 season. Chuba Hubbard would run for over 2,000 yards under Sean Gleeson. The Cowboys schemed nearly twice as much Outside Zone blocking as the NCAA average — which allows RBs the freedom to attack the edge, by design. Wallace would run block for Hubbard on nearly 90% of his attempts lined up on the right side of the field prior to his injury. When Wallace tore his ACL in practice after Week 9, Chuba’s rushing YPG dropped by 23%, and his TDs/game by 50%. Even if we include the games Wallace missed, Hubbard still averaged 25% more YPC off right end than he did on the left. He also scored one-third of his TD total off right end, only one TD off the left.
You’ll need to watch some full-game film on your own in order to view his blocking ability for yourself. Trust me, NFL teams will be enamored with it heading into the draft. Especially those that call upon their WRs to help with Outside Zone blocking. The teams fitting that profile, also with a need at receiver include the Titans, Browns, Bears, and 49ers. Tennessee promoted Todd Downing from TE coach to OC in January. I am not expecting any changes whatsoever from the rushing attack that would use Outside Zone blocking more than anyone other than the Bears. The Titans also used their WRs to block more than any team… by a huge margin. It sounds as though they’ll let Corey Davis walk, and Adam Humphries is still suffering the effects of his horrifying concussion last season.
As for the Titans’ previous OC, Arthur Smith was hired as HC of the Falcons, and offers another intriguing potential landing spot for Wallace. Whether they move down from No. 4 with their sights on landing Najee Harris or target a free agent RB, Smith added Dave Ragone as his OC. Ragone’s offense in Chicago led the entire league in Outside Zone blocking rate last season. In addition, Julio Jones is on the tail-end of his career. It’s very possible that Wallace could last into Round 3. That would permit Atlanta to shore up desperate needs at other positions before scooping up the one WR that could help them in every facet of the offense they envision.
In addition to being the best run-blocking WR in the class, Wallace also possesses the top 50-50 jump ball timing, and is the best coverage manipulator in the class. That is precisely why you’ll likely read a lot of analysts refer to him as playing bigger than his size. Make no mistake, this collection of talents may not push his name into being a top-10 selection, but I would be stunned if he is not playing starter snaps at X or Y from Day 1 in the NFL next season. Everything we saw from Wallace as the frontrunner for the Biletnikoff Award prior to the ACL injury was still present during his return last season. That includes an identical rate of production.
Wallace reminds me of another WR with the skillset of a Flanker or Slot, as well as plenty of questions surrounding his speed: Keenan Allen. Granted, Allen is a few inches taller than Wallace, but they are both dominant run-blocking WRs who can change the complexion of any game using their crisp route-running repertoire. NFL teams slept on Allen back in 2013, falling to the Chargers with the 76th pick. Teams may one day look back on their decision to pass on Wallace with similar regret.
The Bottom Line
Wallace recently passed along to our John Hansen that he expects to run in the 4.4s at his Pro Day. If he manages to succeed, he could jump all the way up to being a late-first, or early-second round selection. Wallace is Mr. Consistent, destroying you with his persistence. He generated at least 2.00 yards/route run (YPRR) on all five of the most important NFL routes over his career. He crushed defenses working with motion, even better when motioned from wide.
I am stuck deciding between Wallace and Terrace Marshall Jr. as my WR7. Until I’ve had the opportunity to evaluate all of Marshall’s film, I will be keeping Wallace as the WR8 on my Dyno Big Board. I’ll finish off Wallace’s analysis with this: over his career, he generated at least 2.50 YPRR facing Man, Cover 3 with the MOF closed, and Cover 2, 4, and 6 with the MOF open.