From walk-on to ‘wow factor’, Levi Wallace’s journey to NFL
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WHEC) — He might not be a household name, but he’s become a regular member of the Bills defense.
"We just all love Football,” Bills CB Levi Wallace said. “We all love winning and there’s a standard here now that we hold ourselves to."
The cornerback comes from humble beginnings. Growing up in Tucson, Arizona, he narrowed his choices down to two sports.
"Football and Baseball,” he said. “And I played third base in baseball and one play I saw a pitcher get hit in the stomach with a baseball and I was like, ‘Yeah, I want to play football.’"
From there, he had his sights set on one school: Alabama.
"Nick Saban kind of got there and I started getting more interested in watching them as a little kid would,” he said. “I ended up going there."
He went there, but without any formal invitation to play for the Crimson Tide. He made the team as a walk-on. Then, in the fall of 2016, he earned a scholarship, which only affirmed what he already knew deep down.
"I felt like I was already good enough to play on the team with or without that scholarship so just to get the scholarship just kind of validated that a little bit more," he said.
A year later, he helped them to a national championship over Georgia then graduated, something he knows his late father, Walter, an Alabama-crazed fan who passed away from A.L.S. in 2014 would’ve been proud of.
"I think me walking across that stage was more of an accomplishment than winning that title, for him at least," he said.
Wallace wasn’t drafted by any NFL team but the Bills kept his dream alive, signing him to the practice squad in 2018. He wound up playing seven games that year, then a full sixteen the next season. Now, the 26-year-old has started the fifth-most games by an undrafted player in the last 10 years."
"Every day is a grind,” he said. “You just continue to get better. That’s all you can ask of yourself. I try to push myself to the best I can be and I think so far this year has been a pretty good year."
A pretty good year with pretty good teammates.
"Just having those guys in my life as leaders and older brothers, even though I’m older than Tre’Davious but he’s been in the league longer than me, more experience but just having those guys," he said.