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April 29, 2012

Undrafted Wallace making big jump to NFL

Rico Wallace grew up in Maryland, but rooted for Tampa Bay as a kid – mainly because he liked the Buccaneers' colors when he would play Tecmo Bowl on Nintendo with his older brothers.

Wallace will have a chance to face his boyhood team in the NFC South after joining the Panthers as an undrafted free agent out of Division III Shenandoah in Winchester, Va. Wallace, a 6-3, 210-pound wideout, posted back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons to get the attention of Panthers area scout Jeff Beathard.

After agreeing to terms with the Panthers on Saturday night, Wallace spoke to Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, who likes big, physical receivers.

Wallace, one of 11 known undrafted free agents who have agreed to terms with the Panthers, hopes to crack the receiving rotation.

“I'm going to try to work as hard as I can and learn as fast as I can because I know it's a big leap from D-III to the NFL,” Wallace said Sunday. “I definitely play physical but I think the best part of my game is my instincts and my ability to track the ball down.”

Wallace worked out at JMU's pro day in front of scouts from three teams – Carolina, Atlanta and Baltimore. He said Cleveland also showed interest.

Wallace received a $7,500 signing bonus from the Panthers, which he can use to pay off part of his student loans. Division III schools do not offer athletic scholarships.

“I got loans like everybody else, along with financial aid,” Wallace said. “So it got me through.”

Panthers Undrafted Free Agents

Brenton Bersin, WR, Wofford

Will Blackwell, G, LSU

Nate Chandler, DL, UCLA

Jared Green, WR, Southern

Wes Kemp, WR, Missouri

Princeton McCarty, RB, Idaho

Tauren Poole, RB, Tennessee

Matt Reynolds, OL, BYU

Lyndon Rowells, RB, Humboldt State

Ryan Van Bergen, DE, Michigan

Rico Wallace, WR, Shenandoah

Source: Players' Twitter feeds, announcements from schools.

(Panthers will release the official list when contracts are signed early this week.)

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on April 29, 2012 at 05:21 PM | Permalink


4 WR and only 1 DT. This is a joke?

Posted by: Fábio Brazil | Apr 29, 2012 5:34:15 PM

Why not Dwight Jones?

Posted by: Ryan | Apr 29, 2012 6:00:00 PM

So between this and the draft, apparently the coaching staff thinks the D-line isn't a problem. Also, with so many receivers brought to camp, looks like some of our guys from last year haven't exactly inspired confidence. Also, no QB, to push Clausen for the third spot?

Posted by: Brian Carlton | Apr 29, 2012 6:15:20 PM

What about Tim Benford? I saw some pre-draft mock's having us take him in the 4th, Seems like he would be a good UDFA signing?

Posted by: George | Apr 29, 2012 6:19:11 PM

Ryan Van Bergen Scouting Report
Michigan (HT: 6-6 - WT: 283) Positives -- Versatility may be his best trait; played all over the defensive line for the Wolverines and was a good player wherever he was lined up... Does his best work when he prevents linemen from getting their hands on him while he works his way into the backfield... Tremendous motor; never gives up and will always fight his way to the football with a pitbull-like aggression... Doesn't have a go to move but has a spin move that always seems to work due to the fact that catches the lineman off guard every single time... Has a frame that could add some extra weight and allow him to play defensive tackle in the 4-3... Long arms make him an effective tackler in tight spaces... Will be playing with a huge chip on his shoulder; led Michigan in sacks and tackles for loss as a senior but was not invited to the combine after suffering a foot injury in the Sugar Bowl

Posted by: Bill Polian | Apr 29, 2012 6:57:57 PM

why even put so much effort into play at the college level if you can't get a scholarship?

Posted by: Jason Alston | Apr 29, 2012 7:32:17 PM

Considering we have 2 guys coming off decent rookie years and a solid vet in ron edwards coming off an upperbody injury.....charles johnson, greg hardy, thomas keiser, and i don't know who else is coming back outta shirley, neblett, kearse, etc. But some of those guys had some solid games. Getting edwards back should be HUGE.

Posted by: charlottean | Apr 29, 2012 8:28:17 PM

Well said, charlottean. Not to mention teams will be cutting players over the summer. So no tellin' WHO we might be able to snag "on the cheap" !

Posted by: nasty704 | Apr 29, 2012 9:57:57 PM

Decent rookie years? Please. Fua and McClain were outmatched every single game they played in all year long.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Apr 29, 2012 10:19:30 PM

Anybody else think Hurney gave up too much to get that extra 4th round pick? A sixth and a third next year. The third rounder next year should've been sufficient enough.

Posted by: PantherFan#34 | Apr 29, 2012 10:28:33 PM

I think Shirley and Kearse outplayed Fua and McClain last season. I thought the defense actually improved once McClain and Fua were out, Shirley is a huge DT and seems to have an upside, hopefully he sticks along with Edwards, McClain, and maybe Kearse. I thought Fua really struggled, but maybe he can get stronger.
I don't believe like most do that we are desperate for a DT, looks like the Panthers don't believe it either.

Posted by: Kenny | Apr 30, 2012 12:19:35 AM

the panthers are doing a great job of ignoring all of this defensive tackle talk. Our team is overloaded with DT's. We need a rotation of 3 or 4 and the team currently has 7+. All of these guys have potential and at least a couple will work out. LB and CB were our most serious needs, and a DE and OG are perfect additions. Imagine filling all of our needs including upgrading punt returner and #2 or 3 receiver so quickly! Great job Panthers! 10 wins minimum!!

Posted by: wf | Apr 30, 2012 3:35:59 AM

Ok, as for poole the rb out of tennessee... if you cant average 4 yards a carry in college, you can't in the nfl. So he's out.

Very disappointed they could not get Clemson DT- Rennie Moore or UNC WR- Dwight Jones. Jones should have been drafted anyway. Patrick Edwards?? how about he was in the top 4 in receiving yards out of Houston last year and also a kick return specialist they couldve had alongside with adams. Didn't try to sign him before he did with the Lions?

DJ Campbell was an absolute waste of a pick with alfonzo dennard from Nebraska and antonio allen from SC still there in the 7th round. And what do you know, the Patriots and Jets scooped them up shortly after we passed.

Posted by: riley | Apr 30, 2012 7:06:15 AM

Also, i love the josh norman pick but do they not think should add 1 or 2 more in undrafted free agents? Gonna just stick with norman? It better work out

Posted by: riley | Apr 30, 2012 7:09:24 AM

And also TE Tarren Lloyd (Utah State). I agree with Michael Procton

Posted by: Fábio Brazil | Apr 30, 2012 1:13:40 PM

Watch out for Rico Wallace, Ryan Van Bergen and Tauren Poole. All three will need some time to develop but I think will make it in the NFL. Poole had a down 2011 but was real good in 2010. I was surprised Van Bergen wasn't drafted. He just needs to fill out his 6' 6" frame more and work on technique and he should get into a DE rotation on some NFL team. Wallace has tons of potential and great size for a WR.

Posted by: Dom | May 2, 2012 10:39:26 AM

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