Wake Forest finished last season with the 3rd worst offense in the country according to Football Outsiders' S&P ratings. The Deacs finished ahead of only SMU and Eastern Michigan. From the offense, Wake Forest will be replacing senior wide receivers Matt James and E.J. Scott, as well as guard/tackle Antonio Ford and guard/center Cory Helms. Let's take a look at who Wake brought in to try and increase their offensive output.
We begin with the quarterbacks and offensive linemen. Wake signed two quarterbacks in the class, Kendall Hinton and Kyle Kearns, who are both highly regarded. Kendall Hinton has already enrolled and could very well win the starting role from current starter John Wolford.
Another one of Wake Forest's major problems last season was offensive line play. The Deacs will be replacing two starters in Helms, who was lost due to transfer, and Ford who was lost due to graduation. Wake added two scholarship players in T.J. Haney and Nathan Gilliam, as well as preferred walk-on Jake Benzinger. Haney is a BIG body at 6'6" 330 pounds. He chose the Deacs over Vanderbilt and is a quality recruit. Gilliam chose Wake Forest over Kentucky, South Carolina and Mississippi State. He is currently listed at 6'5" 280 pounds. While both are promising prospects, I expect the staff to look to redshirt both players this year. As for next season, I would look for Wake to add redshirt freshmen Justin Herron and Ryan Anderson into the rotation. Herron is a very promising prospect and I wouldn't be surprised to see him start.
Time to talk about the athletes. Wake Forest obviously lacked in the run game last year and I thought they did an outstanding job addressing that need. In addition to having an improved offensive line, Wake Forest also added one of the better backs in the country in Rocky Reid. Reid has the chance to come in and be a starter from day one. It's also possible that Wake adds former Louisville running back commit and Mr. Football in South Carolina, Matt Colburn. That would be a stellar duo and honestly the best duo on paper that Wake Forest has ever signed.
Another issue Wake had offensively last season was the ability for the receivers to make plays. Our receivers last season were primarily possession receivers, and made little to no yards after the catch. I believe we completed just one play over 40 yards all season. The Deacs lose Scott and James, but will return Tyree Harris, who redshirted last season after playing as a true freshman in 2013. Cortez Lewis out of Alabama was another good pickup for Wake last year who will see the field this season. As for 2015 commits, Steven Claude is my favorite. He was 1st-team all-State in Florida and had many Power 5 offers. He can be a gamechanger on the perimeter. Tabari Hines is an early-enrollee who can be a good slot receiver and special teams returner for Wake. He's smaller, so he may redshirt, but he has great speed.
Chuck Wade is not a highly rated prospect, but he continued to put up incredible numbers this year. The 2-time 1st-team all-State player had 68 receptions for 1,346 yards and 17 touchdowns last season. Scotty Washington is a HUGE target at 6'5" who has good hands and can be a red zone threat for us.
The final highlight is Bowman Archibald, who enrolled early at Wake Forest and suffered a leg injury during drills just a few weeks ago. No timetable has been set for a return. "Bo" was the 8th best tight end in the 2015 class according to ESPN and was originally committed to Miami. Given Cam Serigne and Devin Pike, Bo's impact wasn't needed to be immediate, but he will give us great depth at the position moving forward and allow us to utilize twin tight end sets.
That's my analysis of the Wake Forest offense moving forward given the 2015 pieces as well as some from the 2014 class. There's no doubt that consistent recruiting classes of this caliber will get Wake Forest back to being very competitive in the ACC. Look for a defensive analysis later on.