Cornerback Merrill Noel Flying Under the Radar

Grant Halverson

Fully healthy and motivated after a tough season in 2012, cornerback Merrill 'Bud' Noel is due for a big year.

Entering last season, Wake Forest expected Merrill Noel to anchor the defense. The cornerback was coming off of a stellar freshman campaign where he led the nation in pass deflections. For his efforts, "Bud" Noel was named ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year and a member of the Freshman All-America Team.

Fans, teammates and coaches alike praised Noel for his passion and dedication on and off the field. Noel's swagger and exuberance emboldened his teammates to fight on. His passion lit a fire into his teammates to hustle. Noel never let a moment pass without enjoying himself and putting on a show for fans. Noel was often seen dancing after a good play and celebrating on the sidelines.

Wake Forest fans and media members alike labeled Noel as the second coming of Demon Deacon legend Alphonso Smith - the ACC career leader in interceptions. Both are diminutive in size (Noel is generously listed at 5' 10" 180 lbs) but make up for it with their physical play, athletic prowess and keen instincts. Also, Noel followed in Smith's footsteps, attending the same high school in Pahokee, Florida.

The 2012 season started slow for Noel, who missed the opener against Liberty due to a hamstring injury. Noel played in nine games during the season, but never displayed the same lockdown corner abilities. He was banged up, coming up a step slow in coverage. The Deacs secondary faltered precipitously, notably against Sammy Watkins of Clemson, who torched the defense for 202 yards and a TD (for 61 yards) on eight catches.

In addition, Noel was among six Demon Deacons to fail a drug test and receive a one game suspension.

In the meantime, fellow sophomore Kevin Johnson developed into the Deacs top cornerback. Since the conclusion of the disappointing 5-7 season, Noel underwent shoulder surgery that kept him on the sidelines during most of spring practice.

Following the injury-ridden season, Noel has fallen under the radar. His name has dropped on NFL scouting reports and ACC preseason rankings lists.

But not for long.

Now fully healthy and more mature after a tough season, Noel appears ready to move forward and build off the promise he showed two seasons ago. He's hungrier than ever, eager to prove doubters wrong. He's excited to play alongside Johnson, forming arguably the most lethal cornerback tandem in the ACC.

ACC opponents take note:

Merrill Noel has his swagger back.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Blogger So Dear

You must be a member of Blogger So Dear to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Blogger So Dear. You should read them.

Join Blogger So Dear

You must be a member of Blogger So Dear to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Blogger So Dear. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker