An Ace in the Hole

Photo courtesy of WKU Athletics

Photo courtesy of WKU Athletics

Anthony “Ace” Wales is getting ready for his final season at Western Kentucky University. The Central High School graduate rushed for 1,091 yards and nine touchdowns in 2015. He picked up his diploma in December. Wales rushed for 8,213 yards in high school, third all-time in Kentucky state history. In 2011, he was named Touchdown Friday Night Player of the Year by WAVE 3 News.

How much confidence did you gain from last season?
I mean, all this time, I’ve known what I’ve been able to do, so it’s really just what God has planned for me. I just put everything in his hands and I’m very excited for everything that I have accomplished, and my team as well. It’s just great to be able to go out here and play football each and
every day.

How difficult has the road to this point been, from committing to UofL to signing with Western?
Yeah, at first it was pretty tough. Right after that year, Louisville had just won another bowl and then we went to a bowl game and we lost. The next year, we didn’t make it in one, so a lot of people were like, “Man you should have stayed home.” In the long run, after I graduated and it’s my last year, it seems like I really made the best decision. I feel like the group of guys that I work with and the coaches, they’re great guys and not just teammates but brothers. I look at the coaches as more like family. The teach me a lot, not just football, but off the field as well.

You’ve had three different head coaches. What is different about Coach Brohm?
Coach Taggart – he was pretty cool, laid-back. He really related to a lot of stuff that I related to. Coach Petrino – you know, I think everybody has their Petrino stories. Coach Brohm – he’s a great guy. I love Brohm to death. He really is that coach that makes you want to play football. When you’ve got a coach like that and you have players who want to build what he’s wanting to build, you’re willing to give it any day.

How would you handicap the quarterback race in Bowling Green?
It’s really challenging because I know all those guys want to be in that spotlight and I really like to see them compete in practice each and every day. A lot of them bring a different type of spark to the game. They’re all cool with each other and it’s just great. That’s gives a great vibe to the team.

Will the first game of the season be the closest thing to high school as far as starting a season with expectations?
I came here because I felt like this was the better choice for me, where I could play and really do my thing. I just can’t wait for the season to get here so we can show the world what we really can do.

You guys went to LSU last year, and now in week two, you get Alabama. Is that something you guys talk about a lot?
It’s a big stage, and like I’ve been saying, this is what you play football for. If you can’t get hyped up for this game, then you shouldn’t be playing the game. Football is a great game. I love it, and September 10 – I’m ready for it. I can’t wait for it to get here.

You’ve watched Taywan Taylor for a few years. Are you surprised at all by the numbers he has already put up at WKU?
Taywan is a tremendous athlete. I’ve seen this man grow from a teenager to now, and he’s made a big leap from where he started. He goes out there and works each and every day. He works every single day and he gets better every single day. When I see him going to score a touchdown, I’m like, “OK, now I’ve got to go score.” We feed off of each other.

How different have the players from Louisville treated when you come back home after all the success of the last few seasons?
It’s great because a lot of kids where we grew up don’t really do it at the college level. A lot of guys have been high school greats, but for people to see us really make it out of low income homes and really strive to be great young men, a lot of people look up to that. A lot of kids and a lot of parents want their kids to be like us, and we really take pride in that.

What impressed you mom more, the 1,000 yard season or getting your degree?
The degree, any day. They can’t ever take that degree away from me. It was such a relief when I walked across that stage. It was a great feeling. Even though I love football, the education can take me a long way.

Is your WAVE 3 Touchdown Friday Night Player of the Year trophy prominently displayed in your house?
I gave it to my little brother. I give all my trophies to my little brother. It gives him something to go after. VT