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Wake Forest Football 2016: The Quarterback Position

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The Deacs will have several options at the quarterback position next season.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

John Wolford:

I think anyone who watches Wake Forest football is familiar with  2-year starter, John Wolford at this point. This season he was 142-233 throwing (61%) for 1791 yards, 9 TDs and 11 Ints. He is definitely the most accurate passer that played for the Deacs this season, and when he has time to throw, throws some of the prettiest passes in country. The only problem with that is he usually doesn't have much time to throw at all. In his 2 years at Wake Forest, Wolford has been sacked 68 times (23 times this year) and hurried many more times than that. While Wolford has shown his ability to run the ball in certain situations, like his 70 yard TD run against Elon, he finished the season with 73 rushes for just 67 yards (0.9 ypc) and 3 touchdowns. At 0.9 yards per carry, opposing defenses really don't respect him in the read option. Though, to be fair, the yards per carry statistic does include sacks. The running game seems to struggle when Wolford is in at  QB, and as a consequence, play action becomes ineffective. Regardless of the struggles in the run game, Wolford is currently the best passer that has played for the Deacs in the last 2 years.

Kendall Hinton:

Hinton saw some playing time early in the season due to an injury to Wolford, and had some really good games against Army, Indiana, and Florida State. In these 3 games he threw for 619 yards, 2 TDs, 4 Ints and also ran for 206 yards and 4 TDs. These 3 games saw the Deacs beating Army by 3 and losing to two good teams in FSU and Indiana by a combined 15 points. Wake Forest also averaged 4 yards per carry in the running game in these 3 games, which was 1 yard more than the season average. Hinton would finish the season splitting reps with Wolford and ended the season 93-179 (52%) for 929 yards, 4 TDs, and 5 Ints in the passing game. He was much stronger in the running game, ending the season as Wake Forest's second leading rusher with 390 yards on 93 attempts (4.2 ypc) and 7 TDs. Comparing him to Wolford, as probably every Wake Forest fan has been doing since about September, its pretty clear that he is much less accurate than Wolford, and struggles sometime in making short throws. He was sacked 17 times, 6 fewer times than Wolford. Hinton's advantage is that it gives the defense an extra runner to worry about, opening up a little more room for the runningbacks and helping to set up the play action pass. As you can see below, when Hinton fakes the read, the opposing linebackers all step up out of position, leaving Serigne wide open behind them.

Kyle Kearns

We didn't see any of the Freshman Kearns this season as he was red-shirted, but he may have the most potential of any quarterback on the roster. He was rated as a 4 star recruit and the #12 pro-style QB in the nation by Rivals, and threw for 70 TDs and 6,300 yards in his high school career.

Jamie Newman

Wake Forest will also add quarterback Jamie Newman to the roster next season. He is a 3-star recruit in the 2016 recruiting class, and chose Wake Forest over offers from NC State, Duke, Vanderbilt, and West Virginia. As a junior he threw for more than 2,000 yards while rushing for more than 1,000. He was also a semi-finalist in the Elite 11 Quarterback Competition. He has plenty of talent, and while he will probably enroll at Wake Forest in January, there will be a lot of competition to overcome and earn playing time in year one.

Overall

With an improved offensive line, I expect that Wolford will be the team's starting quarterback. The protection should help him more than any of the other quarterbacks. I think Hinton has to get better at completing short and intermediate routes this offseason. Either way, the position battle is going to be an exciting one to watch, and Wake has some quality depth at the sport's most important position.