Sam Sharpe-US PRESSWIRE
The Wake Forest Demon Deacons have put together one of their best recruiting classes ever with 26 players in the 2013 class overall. Three players have already signed and are already at Wake Forest to prepare for next season. The other 23 will (hopefully) sign their letters of intent tomorrow. Right now the Deacs are 8th in the ACC and 54th nationally according to Rivals.com. Take a look at all 26 here, and get to know your future Wake Forest Demon Deacons!
Head Coach Jim Grobe has put together one of the biggest and best recruiting classes in Wake Forest history heading into National Signing Day tomorrow. With three players already on campus and the other 23 to hopefully all sign tomorrow, the Deacs addressed needs at almost every single position on the football team. Here is a quick look at each player that will be heading to Mother So Dear next year.
An entire list of the Wake Forest commits can be found here at Rivals.com. This is the best place for quick, as well as in-depth issue about players coming to Winston next year.
Overall, Wake Forest will sign 17 3-stars, 7 2-stars, a non-ranked kicker that also appears to have tremendous upside (has kicked a 70-yarder before), and DE Andrew Hauser who committed to Wake Forest earlier today. The Deacs haul is very impressive in both size and talent, ranking 8th in the ACC right now and 54th nationally
First off, let's start off with the three players that have already signed their letters-of-intent and are on campus right now.
1. Ford Howell (6'2", 226, 4.7 40, ***) Linebacker
Howell is ranked as the 20th best player in the state of Tennessee. He committed to N.C. State originally before switching his commitment to in-state rival Wake Forest (7/11/12). He had offers from N.C. State, Wake Forest, Lehigh and Western Kentucky, as well as interest from Boston College, Mississippi State, Mississippi, Northwestern, Stanford, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. He wrapped up his senior season at Memphis University School with 68 tackles, including 6 TFL.
2. Marquel Lee (6'3", 210, ***) Linebacker
Marquel Lee hails from Waldorf, Maryland (Westlake High School), and committed to Wake Forest last fall (10/09/12). DeaconsIllustrated got a chance to talk to him in the past couple of weeks and there is some good information that can be found here from that interview. He finished his senior season with 105 tackles, 4 sacks, 2 FF, and 2 FR. He chose the Deacs over James Madison, Towson and Maryland. Others schools that showed interest were: Boston College, Duke, ECU, N.C. State, Pittsburgh, Penn State, Temple and West Virginia. It is speculated that he will anchor the middle linebacker spot, but played both outside and middle linebacker in high school.
3. James Looney (6'3", 260, 4.9 40, ***) Defensive End
If the name sounds familiar that's because it obviously is--James is the little brother of former Deacon great Joe Looney, currently with the NFC champion San Francisco 49ers. James has a lot of the same characteristics of his brother, but will play on the other side of the football on the defensive line. Looney graduated from Lake Worth High School in Florida. Among those that offered include: Minnesota, South Florida, Tulane, Bowling Green, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Marshall and Middle Tennessee State.
As previously mentioned, the three names listed above have signed their letters-of-intent and are definite Demon Deacons. The following 23 will sign their LOI's tomorrow following any unforeseen switches to other schools (broken down by position)
4. Michael Radford (6'3", 190, 4.7 40, **) Quarterback
In-state QB Michael Radford is the only quarterback in the class, and hails from Charlotte Country Day. He committed to Wake Forest (6/14/12) over Charlotte, Marshall and Presbyterian. He is a "dual-threat" QB according to this DeaconsIllustrated interview. He finished up his senior season with 1,625 yards passing (21 TDs, 7 INTS), and 707 yards rushing on 110 attempts for seven more scores. Radford was recruited by passing game coordinator Tom Elrod, and has already become really close with some of the offensive lineman commits for the Deacs. The offense that the Deacs run is very similar to the one run at Country Day, and Radford should catch on quickly to what Wake is doing.
5. John Armstrong (5'8", 165, 4.54 40, ***) Slot Receiver
Armstrong is one of the most recent Wake Forest commits (1/27/13), and chose the Deacs over Duke, ECU, Illinois, Iowa State, Northern Illinois and Temple. According to a recent DeaconsIllustrated article, Wake plans to use him as a versatile player, utilizing his speed at the running back position, slot receiver postion and Wildcat QB. Armstrong ran for 980 yards and 20 TD's last year, along with 260 yards and 3 TD's receiving at Olympia High School in Florida.
6. Dezmond Wortham (5'11", 200, 4.4 40, ***) Running Back
Wortham committed to the Deacs back in December (12/05/12), and brings a bit of speed and power in to compliment John Armstrong. He chose Wake over: Colorado State, Connecticut, Houston, Kentucky, Navy, Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego State and Utah State. Wortham was committed by Coach Duffie, and was the first RB to commit to the Deacs for the 2013 class after a long wait. He appears to be a power runner and is bouncing back from a torn ACL, suffered during his senior year at Carrollton Hebron (Texas).
7. Tyree Harris (6'2", 170, 4.51 40, ***) Wide Receiver
Tyree Harris is one of the guys that committed to Wake Forest early and despite interest from several other high profile schools, has stayed firm in his commitment to the Deacs. Harris, a WR from Marietta High School in Georgia, chose the Deacs over Boston College, Cincinnati, ECU, Florida International, Kentucky, Miami (FL), Mississippi State, Missouri, Syracuse, Troy and UCLA. He will fit in well at Wake with his already prolific Twitter game, where he reassured Wake fans time and time again of his steady commitment to MSD (@T7Harris). Coach Galloway and Coach Knorr recruited Harris and he committed to Wake Forest during the summer last year (7/23/12)
8. Taylor Chambers (6'7", 285, 5.3 40, ***) Offensive Lineman
Chambers is the 20th ranked prospect in the state of South Carolina, and committed to the Deacs on 6/7/12. He chose Wake Forest over an offer from Southern Mississippi, as well as interest from Clemson, Georgia, N.C. State and South Carolina. Coach Galloway and Coach Himebauch were the two major recruiters in bringing Chambers to Winston-Salem. A big guy that will continue to grow and exceed the 300 pound mark will help the Wake O-Line immensely.
9. Cameron Gardner (6'6", 270, ***) Offensive Lineman
This Souther Nash High School signee from North Carolina was one of the Deacs first of the 2013 recruiting class. He committed back in June for the Deacs after extended contact with Coach Himebauch. He chose Wake Forest over Old Dominion and was an under-the-radar 3 star by most recruiting services. Gardner is a strong run blocker and will fill out before enrolling at Wake for the summer school sessions this year.
10. Josh Harris (6'4", 299, 23 bench reps, ***) Offensive Lineman
One of the two-headed monsters that Wake landed on the offensive line from Milton High School in Georgia is Josh Harris. Great name obviously, and a great pick-up by Coach Grobe and his staff. Harris is ranked as the 42nd best offensive lineman in the class and the 7th best recruit out of the state of Georgia. He chose Wake Forest over Marshall, Maryland, Middle Tennessee State, South Alabama, South Florida, and a slew of other schools that had a high interest in him. Harris also chose the Deacs over his childhood favorite school of the Tennessee Volunteers, who offered as well, so there is little doubt as to whether or not his commitment will waver over the next 24 hours.
11. Cory Helms (6'4", 288, 440 bench press max, ***) Offensive Lineman
The second part of Milton's ferocious offensive line is Cory Helms. He is the 10th best offensive lineman in the class and ranks 59th in the state of Georgia. This guy could be a game-changer for our O-LIne under Coach Himebauch, and along with the other guys, all seem to possess the aggressiveness and mean streak that Himey demands. Helms chose Wake Forest over Cincinnati, ECU, Colorado State, North Carolina, South Florida, Syracuse, Tennessee and Utah State. He committed to the Deacs last June (6/6/12), and has been a catalyst for the Wake Forest staff in making sure the recruits are close-knit and keeping in touch.
12. Eric Tetlow (6'6", 294, 5.22 40, ***) Offensive Lineman
The 5th, 3-star O-Lineman that Coach Himebauch and the rest of the staff have landed is Eric Tetlow. His impressive offer lists includes: Arizona State, Boston College, ECU, Maryland, Navy, Pittsburgh, Purdue, South Florida, Temple and UVA. He may actually be the most sought after offensive lineman coming in, and committed to the Deacs in September (9/28/12). The entire crop of linemen will figure to be a key cog in the success of Wake Forest on the gridiron for years to come.
Serigne was another player that committed to the Deacs back in a very successful week-long stretch in June (6/12/12). He has kept his commitment and now plans to sign his LOI for Wake Forest tomorrow. Serigne attended Briar Woods High School in Ashburn, Virginia and chose Wake Forest over Air Force, Ohio, and Temple. He figures to fit in perfectly in the newly constructed H-Back position that Tommy Bohanon played last year. He joins a very impressive group of tight ends that committed last year, as well as this year's Brendan O'Neil.
14. Brandon O'Neil (6'5", 230, ***) Tight End
The Deacs got a commitment from the Massachusetts high school (or law firm?), Buckingham, Brown and Nichols last June (6/14/12). O'Neil is ranked as the 40th best TE in the country and the 5th best player overall in the state of Massachusetts. He chose Wake Forest over Connecticut, UMass and Temple. O'Neil is a rare grab from the north and has already been told by Coach Lobotzke that he will red-shirt this year. The extra year will give him a great chance to learn the offense and adjust to the speed and effort necessary to compete week in and out in the ACC.
15. Duke Ejiofor (6'3", 216, 4.56, ***) Defensive End
The first thing that sticks out for Ejiofor is is 4.56 speed, which is pretty good for a projected defensive end. Ejiofor chose the Deacs a couple of weeks ago (1/18/13), after Wake Forest had been on the Alief Taylor High School player for a long time. Coach Jackson and Coach McCartney were the head recruiters for Ejiofor and he was impressed by the academics of Wake Forest in making his decision. One would think that he has the flexibility to move between DE and LB with his size and speed, but time will tell. Ejiofor picked the Deacs over Rice (where he was committed for a while), UTSA, UTEP and a late push by TCU for him to fill out their class.
16. Wendell Dunn (6'4", 210, ***) Outside Linebacker
Wendell Dunn became a Deac in December (12/13/12) after his official visit in late September. Dunn was committed to Central Florida before deciding to switch his commitment to a different color gold in the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. He said in an interview with DeaconsIllustrated that he felt the relationship with Coach Jackson and Coach McCartney was integral to the switch to Wake Forest. Dunn finished last year at (Miami) Palmetto High School with 110 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 3 INT's and 2 FF's. Aside from Central Florida, Dunn was being recruited by UConn, Marshall and West Virginia.
17. Ali Lamot (6'3", 200, ***) Outside Linebacker
Ali Lamot was another commit during the very busy June period (6/15/12), and committed to Wake Forest after he was offered a scholarship during one of the camps. Coach Jackson spear-headed the recruitment and made Lamot feel right at home during his official visit. Lamot, along with being a star football player, also ran track for Eastern Alamance (NC), where he excelled in the 110 meter hurdles. Although Lamot played defensive end in high school, he will switch to outside linebacker once he comes to Wake Forest. He chose the Deacs over Elon, Furman, Old Dominion and Air Force. He is ranked as the 30th best player in the state of North Carolina.
18. Julian Thomas-Jackson (6'3", 210, **) Outside Linebacker
Thomas-Jackson committed to the Deacs last week in an attempt to round out the 2013 recruiting class (1/27/13). According to a DeaconsIllustrated article, the coaching staff believes that he could fill a unique spot in the 3-4 defense and thought he could be a steal in the class. Thomas-Jackson hails from Dothan High School (Alabama) and was recruited by Coach McCartney.
19. Lance Virgile (6'2", 215, 4.65 40, ***) Outside Linebacker
The Deacs went to the talent-rich high school of St. Thomas Aquinas (FT. Lauderdale) to grab linebacker Lance Virgile out of the Sunshine State. Virgile is ranked as the 53rd outside linebacker in the 2013 class and figures to be a great signing by the Wake Forest coaching staff. He chose Wake Forest over offers from ECU, Houston, Louisville, N.C. State, UCF and West Virginia. Wake did a great job of landing him in December (12/11/12). Once again it was Coach Jackson that was the difference in getting Virgile to come to Wake. Coach Jackson has seemingly been on nearly every single defensive signing this year.
20. Jalen Latter (5'11", 185, 4.49, **) Cornerback
Yet another North Carolina recruit was pulled by the Wake Forest staff in Charlotte Vance's Jalen Latter. The cornerback chose Wake Forest over Charlotte, Air Force and Navy. Coach Duffie headed up Latter's recruitment, and according to a DeaconsIllustrated article, was told to be ready to play immediately at Wake Forest. He also played QB in high school, which Latter believes has helped him understand and read the game a lot more than he would have.
The Deacs got a nice signing in Joshua Okonye after he turned down a late push by the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets to stay a Wake Forest Demon Deacon. The Deacs landed Okonye on 11/27/12 but the Jackets have come on strong in the past couple of weeks to try to wrangle Okonye away from Winston-Salem and lure him to Atlanta. Other than GT, Okonye had an offer from McNeese State to go along with his Wake offer. It looks like the Deacs may have gotten a steal in Okonye.
A strong DB player from Central Catholic (Clearwater Florida) in Michael Stevenson committed to Wake Forest in late December (12/19/12). The three-star safety chose the Deacs over Pittsburgh, South Florida, Temple, UCF and West Virginia. He is the 60th rated safety in the country and will figure into the Deacs long term defensive backfield plans.
23. Brad Watson (5'11", 161, **) Cornerback
Another cornerback commit from the Deacs means another chance for Georgia Tech to try to steal him away. Watson has been a Wake Forest Demon Deacon commit since late June, but according to a couple of articles by DeaconsIllustrated, the Yellow Jackets have tried to lure Watson as they tried to lure Okonye away from the Deacs. So far Watson has stayed firm to the Deacs. The two-star CB attended Westwood High School in Round Rock, Texas. He chose Wake Forest over home-state teams Rice and Houston.
24. Deonte Davis (5'10", 171, 4.5 40, **) ATH/Cornerback
One of the most recent Wake Forest recruits is two-star athlete Deonte Davis, who committed to the Deacs this past weekend. He changed his commitment from Georgia State to Wake Forest after a meeting with the coaching staff. Davis, who is projected to play in the secondary and likely CB in college, was offered by Air Force, Colorado State, Navy, Georgia State, and Southern. Could be another case of a late steal from the Deacs.
There isn't a lot of information out there honestly on kicker Mike Weaver, a kicker from Southside High School in Elmire, New York, but what is out there is pretty appealing to Wake Forest. Weaver committed with the Deacs this weekend at the same breakfast the Davis switched to Wake Forest. There is this 70-yard FG that he kicked, courtesy of YouTube (and GriffKurz' article this past weekend)...so there's that!
70-yard field goal (via Mike Weaver)
26. Andrew Hauser (6'1", 196, 4.97 40, NR) Defensive End
This commitment actually came out as I was typing this up so I had to do some last minute research on Andrew Hauser. He hails from California and attended Charter Oak High School in California. There also isn't a lot of information out there on him but he clearly had something the coaching staff wanted and liked to offer him this late in the game.
QB (1)- Radford
RB (1)- Wortham,
WR (1)- Harris, Armstrong
TE (2)- Serigne, O'Neil
OL (5)- Helms, Harris, Chambers, Gardner, Tetlow
DL (3)- Looney, Ejiofor, Hauser
LB (6)- Virgile, Thomas-Jackson, Lamot, Dunn, Howell, Lee
CB (2)- Davis, Latter,
S (3)- Stevenson, Okonye, Watson
Special Teams- 1
K (1)- Weaver
Florida (5)- Looney, Stevenson, Virgile, Dunn, Armstrong
Georgia (4)- Helms, Harris, Harris, Davis
North Carolina (4)- Gardner, Radford, Latter, Lamot
Texas (4)- Ejiofor, Okonye, Wortham, Watson
Virginia (2)- Serigne, Tetlow
Alabama (1)- Thomas-Jackson
California (1)- Hauser
Maryland (1)- Lee
Massachusetts (1)- O'Neil
New York (1)- Weaver
South Carolina (1)- Chambers
Tennessee (1)- Howell