By the numbers, Wake Forest finished with their best recruiting class ever. According to Rivals, the Demon Deacons finish tied with Rutgers at 53rd and one spot ahead of former foe Maryland. Wake also finished 11th in the ACC, ahead of Duke, Syracuse and Pittsburgh.
In addressing the media, Dave Clawson was very pleased with the talent that signed with Wake Forest in his first full recruiting season.
But he started the press conference off with a big grin.
Before addressing the offense and the defense, he also stated that last year, they didn't know much about the roster. As a result, " We just recruited a whole football team. Having gone through an entire year, our recruiting was much more focused. We realized the type of players, both positions and personalities, that fit here at Wake."
He also applauded both the coaches and current players for helping to shape this gifted class.
'It's the coaches job to get the prospect on campus, it's the players job to get them to commit," Clawson said.
'It's the coaches job to get the prospect on campus, it's the players job to get them to commit," Clawson said.— Deacons Illustrated (@WakeRivals) February 4, 2015
Starting off at quarterback, he effusively praised Kendall Hinton out of Durham, North Carolina. Clawson called him, "A great fit. He's athletic with a good arm. He's a winner. He's also a great student with a 3.9 GPA. He has all the intangibles and is a tremendous leader who has won state championships. I think he's the best quarterback in North Carolina... We are really happy to get him here for the spring that will really help us out."
"As for Kyle Kearns, we are thrilled to have him too. We really liked him a year ago, but he committed to another school and we got Kendall. We initially only planned on having one QB in the class, but once John [Wolford] won the starting job we thought attrition might take place. I credit [offensive coordinator] Warren Ruggiero for keeping in touch with Kyle and this relationship gave us an opportunity to bring him in."
In conclusion, "We feel we got two great QB's in this class. This will foster great competition."
Clawson "We looked at offense as a 2-year process. Last yr we bring in 6 on the OL and redshirted 5. This year we targeted skill players."
Clawson "We looked at offense as a 2-year process. Last yr we bring in 6 on the OL and redshirted 5. This year we targeted skill players."— Griffin Kurzius (@GriffDaddyK) February 4, 2015
Clawson spoke at length about the impact Rocky Reid could have on the running game right away. He discussed how Reid grew up a Demon Deacon fan and is related to former Wake great Kenny Moore.
While under-regarded, Clawson believes Tyler Bell can be a game-changer too. He played all season with a leg injury and didn't put up the stats he is capable of. And for that, "We are lucky."
Wake brought in five guys at wide receiver. including two guys who can play in the slot and three on the outside. Among the five, Clawson seemed particularly impressed with the 6-4 Scotty Washington out of Washington, DC, "He is big and strong and has great hands. He is the perfect guy for goal-line fades."
For tight ends, Bo Archibald is already on campus and arguably the most talented player in this class. He broke his leg in "a freak accident" while running routes with quarterback John Wolford.
Clawson "We are optimistic about Archibald in 2015 but we'd take him 50 times over. W/ Cam + Devin too we feel good about TE going forward."
Clawson "We are optimistic about Archibald in 2015 but we'd take him 50 times over. W/ Cam + Devin too we feel good about TE going forward."— Griffin Kurzius (@GriffDaddyK) February 4, 2015
Wake knew there was no way to replace Kevin Johnson and Bud Noel. But in their place, they brought in two talented corners in Dionte Austin and Amari Henderson. Clawson said, "We picked up both these guys early. Amari was our top guy in North Carolina and Dionte was one of our top guys out-of-state. With the current depth, we don't have the luxury to redshirt. One or both of them will be playing this year."
At the safety position, Clawson mentioned that Wake was "lucky" to get Jessie Bates so late in the process. Bates, who also had offers from Iowa and Indiana, reached out regarding his interest in the program and he came down and visited and then he committed.
Also, Clawson was satisfied with the size that Wake brought in the defensive line. We feels good about the large group between Chris Calhoun, Paris Black, Philip Haynes, Elontae Bateman, and Kahlil Welsh.
Clawson was very laid-back and tongue-and-cheek with the media. But none more than when discussing stars. "Us coaches play the recruiting rankings both ways. If we are high, we play it up [to the press]. If we're low, we say the rankings mean nothing."
According to the rankings, this is an outstanding recruiting class. But Clawson holds himself, his staff and this program to a higher standard. Wake will return to bowl eligibility through development, not raw talent.
Clawson "Wake Forest will always be a program focused on player development. Stars are good but we look at how these guys will be in 2 yrs."
Clawson "Wake Forest will always be a program focused on player development. Stars are good but we look at how these guys will be in 2 yrs."— Griffin Kurzius (@GriffDaddyK) February 4, 2015