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UCLA Linebacker Aaron Wallace Happy Mariota on his Team

Posted Apr 30, 2016

The Tennessee Titans selected UCLA LB Aaron Wallace in the 7th round (222nd overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. — There’s a photo of UCLA linebacker Aaron Wallace that’s easy to find on the Internet.

It shows him diving after then-Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, and missing him.

Wallace has seen the picture. He hates it.

“That picture of him getting away from me has kind of haunted me,’’ Wallace said on Saturday.

Wallace and Mariota are now teammates. The Titans drafted the former UCLA linebacker in the 7th round (222nd overall) of the NFL Draft.

“He is probably one of the best players I played against in college,’’ Wallace said of Mariota. “So I am excited. I think he is going to be an amazing quarterback, and I am happy to be on his team and not having to run (after) him.”

The Titans drafted Wallace (6-2, 240) to stop opposing offensive players -- quarterbacks, running backs, tight ends and wide receivers. He played in 49 games for the Bruins over the past four seasons. He racked up 65 tackles and 7.5 sacks last season.

Wallace is a one-year starter from UCLA. He played behind linebackers Anthony Barr (1st rounder by Vikings in 2014) and Myles Jack (Jaguars 2nd round pick this year) with the Bruins, and was coached by Titans linebacker coach Lou Spanos when he was defensive coordinator at the school. Wallace mentioned UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks as well.

“They are all great competitors, great athletes and fantastic football players,’’ Wallace said. “Being able to be at UCLA with them and competing with them every day, I think has made me a better player and kind of taught me how to  be a professional and work hard. They are some of my best friends in the world.”

Wallace, whose father played in the NFL, wants to make a name for himself in the league.

“I am a good athlete and I am going to do whatever I can to help the team,’’ Wallace said. “So I think the first spot for me is probably going to be special teams and make my impact there. I am still developing as a player. I think there are a lot of things that I can work on, but I am committed to the Titans’ organization and I am grateful for the opportunity they have given me. I am going to do the best I can.”