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Wake Forest Football May Recruiting Breakdown: Offense

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Who is Wake Forest looking to add to the 2016 class on the offensive side of the ball? Here are some names to look out for in the coming months.

Coach Clawson is looking to bring in yet another historic recruiting class to Wake Forest in 2016.
Coach Clawson is looking to bring in yet another historic recruiting class to Wake Forest in 2016.
Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a great time to be a part of Demon Deacon football at the moment. Coach Clawson just wrapped up his first full recruiting class, which is arguably the best in Wake Forest history, slotting in just outside the Top 50 for both Rivals and 247sports’ rankings. The team also unveiled brand new Nike pro-combat uniforms just a few weeks ago that will give the Deacs a much-needed refreshing look on the field and surely help in recruiting. Finally, the McCreary Field House, a $21 million state of the art indoor facility that rivals some of the best athletic centers in the conference, has made some significant progress in recent weeks and shows the University’s commitment to making Wake Forest football a serious program in the upcoming years.

There’s a lot to be excited about as fans of the Deacon football team, and we aren’t the only ones. 7 players in the 2016 class have already chosen Winston-Salem to be their home over the next few years and many are surely to join them in the coming months. Who are these potential Deacs that could be wearing our Old Gold and Black at BB&T Field starting in 2016? Here is a list of recruits who Wake has been showing a lot of interest in and the feelings seem to be mutual. This is Part 1 of Blogger So Dear’s 2016 May Recruiting Breakdown focusing on recruits on the offensive side of the ball.

Note: All rankings seen in this article are according to the most recent update of 247sports' football recruiting database.

The Recruits:

Darion Slade

Basic Info

-QB/ATH from Clemmons, NC (West Forsyth)

-Rankings

  • 878 Nationally
  • 22 Dual Threat
  • 37 North Carolina

-Consensus 3*

-Commitment Status: Still open

-Notable other offers from:

  • Duke, West Virginia

Slade is a Dual Threat QB in the class of 2016 that finds himself in the top 25 for the position, just slightly below recently committed QB Jamie Newman in the 247sports rankings. While the Deacs already have two freshmen coming in for the 2015 season (And 1 of them likely to redshirt) it will be interesting to see if Wake picks up another QB commit this cycle with the position so undergrad heavy. Clawson and the staff have really been trying to lock down North Carolina over the past few years and beat out local schools to top 3* recruits in the area, and Slade certainly applies to this strategy. While Slade might be undersized at the position, there is no doubt he can play and is highly rated by many of the top scouts in the industry. Slade named Wake and West Virginia as his top two last November and he visited WF Junior Day in mid-February. Also it should be noted that while Duke and West Virginia are the only other ones to have offered him, the Heels and Wolfpack have also been in contact with Slade over the last couple of months as well. Some scouting sites have Slade listed as a WR and so if he does commit there’s a chance he wouldn’t be placed under center when he arrives. In terms of being a student-athlete, the kid from Clemmons seems to fit that description perfectly as he was also featured at the NC Top 80 basketball camp earlier this month and reportedly has a 3.85 GPA.

There's no hiding the fact that Wake is interested in Slade by evidence of this treatment.

Moe Neal

Basic Info

-RB/ATH from Gastonia, NC (Forestview)

-Rankings

  • 758 Nationally
  • 50 ATH
  • 33 North Carolina

-Consensus 3*

-Commitment Status: Wake Forest in Final 5

-Notable other offers from:

  • Duke, Boston College, Mississippi State, Syracuse

Moe Neal is listed as an Athlete on some scouting sites and a RB/APB on others, but regardless of where he plays he would be a fantastic addition to the Demon Deacon 2016 class. At 5’11 160, Neal is certainly on the slimmer side as far as Running Backs go, but he has excellent agility and uses his speed to beat defenders without receiving much contact. For a lack of a better comparison, Neal plays a lot like a Reggie Bush type of RB. Show-stopping jukes, jumps, and spin moves are all part of the package that the man from Gastonia brings to the table. The Athlete label is due to the fact that Forestview used him in the slot a fair amount last season as well so he has experience in the receiving game too. Neal listed Wake Forest in his top 5 a few weeks ago and he would be a huge pickup for the program, especially over some ACC rivals.

Brandon Chapman

Basic Info

-TE from Grove City, OH (Grove City)

-Rankings

  • 853 Nationally
  • 37 TE
  • 42 Ohio

-Consensus 3*

-Commitment Status: Wake Forest one of two leaders

-Notable other offers from:

  • Western Michigan, BC, Cincinnati, Bowling Green

Brandon Chapman is a big time Tight End who has all the physical traits to be a success at the college level. Rivals has Chapman listed at 6’5 240, which would give the Deacs a nice, big redzone target in a couple years to complement the already solid TE core of Cam Serigne, Devin Pike, and Bowman Archibald. Chapman certainly had a lot of nice things to say about Wake Forest in a recent interview and stated to Steve Wiltfong of 247sports that Wake and Western Michigan were the leaders in his recruitment at the moment. When asked what he liked about Wake, Chapman said, "It’s the whole package, you have the academics, they’re in big time football in the ACC. I like how it’s not a ridiculously populated school, there is more 1-on-1 time in the classroom and that’s how I like to learn." Chapman also noted that Coach Clawson recruited his brother at Bowling Green, and thus he already knew of the coaching staff and everything they are about: "I have a good sense of who they are as a coaching staff and I know how he works and he’s going to make that a good program." Chapman would be a very nice pickup for Clawson and co. and it sounds like Wake Forest is a school that suits both his athletic and academic interests.

Elijah Johnson

Basic Info

-OT from Hyattsville, MD (Dematha Catholic)

-Rankings

  • 1524 Nationally
  • 118 OT
  • 36 Maryland

Consensus 2*

Commitment Status: Still open

Notable other offers from:

  • Rutgers, Boston College, West Virginia

Wake Forest has already locked down two very solid O-Linemen for the 2016 class, so nailing down 1 more might not be a priority considering the Line will be stacked with Underclassmen already for the 2015 season. However, Wake Forest offered Johnson back in March and 247sports lists the Deacs as one of his four "Warm" interest schools along with the three listed above. Johnson is physically imposing at 6’5 315 and would be a welcome addition to Nick Tabacca’s O-Line. However, Rutgers is the clear favorite at the moment for the Dematha Catholic product, with the NJ University being the first FBS school to offer him and keeping in contact with him practically "every other day or everyday" according to a recent NJ.com article. 247sports has also all predictions towards Rutgers at the moment, but there’s still plenty of time to possibly sway his lean given how we know the Deacon staff recruits for #theaWAKEning.

Cade Carney

Basic Info

-RB from Davidson, NC (Davidson Day)

-Rankings

  • 971 Nationally
  • 70 RB
  • 40 North Carolina

Consensus 3*

Commitment Status: Still open

Notable other offers from:

  • ECU, UNC, Georgia Tech, NC State

Cade Carney is one of the top players in the state of North Carolina and has been on Wake Forest’s radar since the Jim Grobe days. Carney was first offered by the Deacs back in July of 2013 and the current staff has kept that offer out to the young man out of Davidson Day. Carney attended Junior Day at Wake Forest back in February and 247sports currently has the race for his services down to three schools: Eastern Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Wake Forest. Carney reportedly had a terrific showing at The Opening Regionals last week in Charlotte and this will surely lead to a rise in stock and increase in suitors over the next couple of months. With Wake still looking to lock down a RB in this 2016 class, Carney would be a fantastic pickup for the staff over some in-state competition.

Tyler Simmons

Basic Info

-WR from Powder Springs, GA (McEachern)

-Rankings

  • 1122 Nationally
  • 169 WR
  • 99 Georgia

Consensus 3*

Commitment Status: Still open

Notable other offers from:

  • Cal, Georgia, Troy, Kentucky, UNC

Wake offered Tyler Simmons last November after a terrific junior season for McEachern High School. Simmons’ potential can immediately be seen by his sheer speed, as he is clocked at a 4.40 40-yard dash by almost all scouting sites. But you don’t need to trust the numbers, just watch his Hudl video and you will see that the kid from Georgia has world-class speed that could be useful for any D1 program. He has attracted some attention recently from bigger programs, as Cal, UNC, and his home-state UGA have all offered in the last couple of weeks. Beating out UGA will be the biggest challenge for Wake landing Simmons, as the recruit talked extremely highly of the Bulldogs right after he was offered last week. However, with multiple high-profile schools extending scholarships to him recently, my bet is Simmons will take his time before submitting his verbal to anyone.

Phillip Patterson

Basic Info

-WR from Virginia Beach, VA (Bayside)

-Rankings

  • 414 National
  • 65 WR
  • 14 Virginia

-Consensus: 3*

-Commitment Status: Leaning Duke

-Notable other offers from:

  • Duke, Virginia Tech, Penn State, UNC, Vandy

Patterson is a name that multiple fan bases might have become familiar with in recent weeks. That is because the Virginia Beach WR has picked up five offers in just the last 30 days, with Penn State and UNC as the standouts. Patterson is a 6’2 WR with 4.5 speed that brings a little bit of everything to the table. He reminded me a lot of Cortez Lewis coming out of high school having watched their films. However, Patterson is currently leaning Duke at the moment and that’s where 247sports predictions have him going as well. Getting Patterson on campus this fall should be a priority as the wideout would be an excellent addition to the class.

Jesse Meyler

Basic Info

-OT from Alexandria, VA (Episcopal)

-Rankings:

  • 897 National
  • 82 OT
  • 36 Virginia

-Consensus 3*

-Commitment Status: Wake Forest one of two leaders

-Notable other offers from:

  • Maryland, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Virginia, BC

Meyler is another prospect that has been in high demand recently, picking up offers from Maryland, Wisconsin, BC, and Virginia all in the last month. He had an unofficial visit on April 9th at Wake Forest and on May 3rd he listed the Deacs and Northwestern as the two leaders in his recruitment to 247sports. With JeVionte Nash and Taleni Suhren already committed, Meyler would make the 2016 O-Line class a force to be reckoned with if he chooses Wake as well. As the offers continue to flood his mailbox, however, we might have to wait a while until we hear his final decision. Regardless, it is good news the Deacs currently are one of his favorites and there’s a great chance Meyler ends up wearing the Black and Gold someday.

Tino Ellis

Basic Info

-WR from Hyattsville, MD (Dematha Catholic)

-Rankings

  • 268 National
  • 42 WR
  • 10 Maryland

-Consensus 4*

-Commitment Status: Leaning Virginia Tech, Maryland

-Notable other offers from:

  • Virginia Tech, Maryland, Rutgers, West Virginia

Ellis is currently the premier prospect showing a significant amount of interest in representing Wake Forest at the college level starting in 2016. He is a top 300 talent nationally and one of the best players in all of Maryland. If you watch his highlight film below you can understand why. Anytime you have the chance to land a 4* WR it is a massive opportunity, and there is no doubt in my mind that Ellis would come in and likely be a starting WR from Day 1 here in Winston. He listed Wake Forest in his top 5 back in January, but it seems like the Deacs are somewhat on the outside looking in at the moment with Virginia Tech and Maryland the clear favorites according to most analysts across the industry. Wake was close to picking up commitments from a couple of 4* playmakers last year, but it just wasn’t in the cards. As an optimistic Deac fan, I’d expect that with the progress the program is going through at the moment we will be able to land at least 1 or 2 of those type of recruits this cycle, but we’ll just have to wait and see. It might not be Tino Ellis that is one of those recruits, but I sincerely hope I’m wrong and we get our star receiver for years to come.

That concludes Part 1 of the Blogger So Dear 2016 May Recruiting Breakdown focusing on recruits on the offensive side of the ball. Next week the top prospects on defense will be highlighted so come back and see who Coach Clawson is targeting and get to know some of the names you should be following this summer. For more frequent recruiting updates you can follow me at @DeacFan3 on Twitter and feel free to comment below on any guys you think Wake should be targeting for the 2016 recruiting cycle. And finally, as always, Go Deacs!