Tracin Wallace will go down having made just one catch for one yard at the end of a blowout against an FCS opponent for his college career.
But he may still have a profound influence on the future of the Oklahoma State football program.
Wallace suffered the third ACL tear of his football career in a practice leading up to the Boise State game last fall, and it’s a moment his position coach has to fight back emotions talking about even a year later.
“It really hurt me. It was hard on me,” OSU receivers coach and associate head coach Kasey Dunn said. “I can remember like it was yesterday, he jumped up to get the ball – it was non-contact – and hit the ground and you could see him just fold up and clutch his knee, and you just knew what had happened.
“The hardest part was, it wasn’t the first one, it wasn’t the second one, when that third one hits you, that’s probably a career-ender. There’s not many guys who come back from three.”
And so this past summer, Wallace made the difficult decision to retire from football.
But his coach is keeping him close to receiving corps.
He’s still at practice with the team, helping Dunn during receiver drills and has been tasked with preparing film of NFL receivers for the Cowboy receiving corps.
“He’ll do a lot of cut-up stuff, help me out with some drill work,” Dunn said. “Whatever projects I can put him on, and keep him within football.
“I have him do a lot of NFL cut-up stuff and just show it to players to give them a different perspective on what it’s like at the NFL with different speed and tempo. He’s more on the NFL side of giving our kids good examples.”
Wallace is getting an early opportunity to get a glimpse into the realm of coaching with the decision made by the redshirt junior and the Cowboy coaching staff.
According to Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, it was Wallace’s wish to find a way to still work the team and start preparing for what may be next for him in the football world.
“Tracin wants to coach, and he’s got substance to him,” Gundy said. “If you can’t play any more, the closest thing you can do is coach. And that’s what he’s doing at this time.”
While Wallace is getting ahead of the learning curve in the coaching department, he’s also been motivation for his twin brother and Biletnikoff Award finalist Tylan Wallace.
“Knowing that we had dreams and hopes to play at this level together, and the next level, it feels good to have him still out here and knowing that I’m going out there playing for him while he’s still watching me,” Tylan said.
With Tracin sidelined and Tylan lifting the mantle for his injured twin brother, Dunn foresees great things to come from a the talented, veteran receiver with something more to play for now.
“I think it’s going to make a big impact on Tylan, as far as his focus,” Dunn said. “I think there’s a greater sense of urgency for him, and I think you’re actually going to see a better season from him even though Tracin isn’t able to play.”
"With him being on the sideline still, coaching me up on everything I need to be coached on, it feels real good to still have him out there with me on the field."
Cowboy receiver on twin brother retiring from football