If you hang around the Auburn football program for long these days, someone is going to mention freshman quarterback Jonathan Wallace.
With his work ethic, his intelligence and his determination, he has made significant impression on his teammates and on his coaches. They'll tell you he has done everything right on and off the field. Those who knew him as a big-winning quarterback at Central High School in Phenix City will tell you that's nothing new.
Junior quarterback Clint Mosley might have described Wallace best on the first day of practice.
"Wallace really cares," Moseley said. "He wants it as bad as almost anybody I've ever seen. He definitely has the right attitude to play football at this level. He has it figured out already."
It will take a while for some who watch from afar to be convinced. After all, Wallace was a 3-star recruit who was headed to Central Florida until, at the urging of first-year offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler, he got an Auburn offer two days before signing day.
But there are examples in Auburn's football history of other quarterbacks who, like Wallace, were unheralded recruits who defied the odds, accomplished big things and wrote their own glorious chapters in the history of Auburn football.
Reggie Slack is the only Auburn quarterback to win two SEC championships. As the starter in 1988 and 1989, he led Auburn to a 20-4 record and was All-SEC both seasons. He led the Tigers to a 30-20 victory in Alabama's first-ever trip to Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Joe Whitt, who coached linebackers on Pat Dyer's staff, recruited Slack out of Milton, Fla., as an athlete. He and Dye promised Slack a shot at quarterback, but Whitt thought Slack might end up playing for him.
In the coaches' locker room after Slack's first practice, Dye looked and Whitt and smiled.
"He ain't gonna be a linebacker," Dye told him.
Randy Campbell grew up an Alabama fan in Hartselle, but he got no offer from Alabama. Auburn coach Doug Barfield saw something he liked and offered Campbell a scholarship. In 1982 and 1983, Campbell took the throttle of Auburn's wishbone. The Tigers were 9-3 in 1982, breaking a nine-game drought with a 23-22 win over Alabama, and won their first SEC championship when they went 11-1 in 1983.
Lloyd Nix was moved from halfback to quarterback at the start of preseason practice in 1957. He quarterbacked a national championship team and was 19-0-1 as the starter.
Most great SEC quarterbacks are big-time recruits of whom much is expected. Most. Not all.
Will Wallace be one of the exceptions? We'll find out in the months and years to come, but based on the reviews from those who see him at work every day, he's off to quite a start.