Alabama Football: Levi Wallace shows having a Fighters’ Mentality pays

(Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images) /

Almost every Alabama football fan knows the Levi Wallace backstory. For those that don’t, he chose to become a walk-on for the Crimson Tide because his father was from Tuscaloosa. Levi had no college offers from FBS or FCS schools. Like a few other former Crimson Tide players who achieved football success, Wallace was a zero-star recruit, meaning not a single recruiting service rated him.

It took time for Wallace to work his way to a key role for the Crimson Tide. He recorded no stats in his first two seasons. Eventually, he won a scholarship and became an important member of the Crimson Tide’s 2017 secondary.

Beating the odds in Tuscaloosa was not enough for Levi. He had enough confidence and determination to believe he could succeed in the NFL. No NFL teams agreed. Wallace was not selected in the 2018 NFL Draft. He signed with the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent. In four Bills’ seasons, Levi started in each of the 52 games in which he competed.

Now he is a Pittsburgh Steeler. When he was introduced in Pittsburgh, Levi talked about his unlikely path to success.

"I kind of just don’t take no for an answer. I don’t let people’s limitations get put on me. Undrafted or when people say undrafted, I say eighth round.… that’s just been my story, with walking on at Alabama and nobody expecting me to start … it’s just the same here … this is another chapter, another challenge."

In what is one of the biggest understatements of this NFL offseason, Wallace added, comparing his situations in Tuscaloosa, Buffalo and now Pittsburgh.

"… it’s just the same here. I just have that fighters’ mentality, that fighting spirit."

Alabama Football-Built

That Alabama Football-built ‘fighters mentality’ existed within the Pittsburgh Steelers roster before the addition of Levi Wallace. It is not accurate to exclude other factors in the lives of players when discussing their competitive character. As Alabama football fans know, Wallace, along with fellow Steelers, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Najee Harris had character instilled by more than their Alabama Crimson Tide football experience. But no college program stokes competitive fire and instills the discipline to succeed better than Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide.

According to Spotrac, Levi Wallace’s Steelers contract is two years and $8M, including almost $3m of guaranteed money.

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Other former Crimson Tide players hoping to use their Alabama football development experience to make Pittsburgh’s 2022 roster are J.C. Hassenauer and Chris Owens.