SAN JOSE -- San Jose State received word Wednesday from the NCAA that sophomore cornerback Cleveland Wallace III has been granted immediate eligibility to play for the Spartans this season.
Wallace, a San Jose native who played at Oak Grove High, transferred to SJSU in the offseason from Washington and appealed to the NCAA to be immediately eligible, citing a family situation. Transfers typically must sit out for one season.
A decision had been expected before the start of training camp, which began Friday, but the NCAA had additional questions for Wallace. He participated in practices while remaining hopeful of the good news that finally came down Wednesday morning.
"I was kind of speechless," Wallace said of receiving the news. "It's been a long process since I've been here. My mindset has been that I'm going to play. But I know there's a lot of cases where it doesn't work out."
Wallace had to submit a letter stating his case and the NCAA twice responded with more questions before finally issuing their ruling.
"I'm really excited about that one," SJSU coach Ron Caragher said. "Pleased that he can play this year and have three years to play at San Jose State."
Wallace has been seeing reps with the first-team defense as one of three cornerbacks, along with Jimmy Pruitt and Dasheon Frierson. Caragher foresees many situations in which the base defense could utilize three corners.
Wallace redshirted in 2012 at Washington -- when current Spartans' defensive backs coach Donté Williams was a graduate assistant for the Huskies -- and played in nine games last season. He had one interception and nine tackles.
He said the waiting process was tough.
"The whole thing was if I didn't know by camp, my reps would be cut or I can't advance up the (depth) chart," Wallace said. "It was tough just grinding and grinding knowing one day it might be, 'Oh, you can't play.' But it came out. I kept faith and now I'm eligible."