Last season, John Wolford won the quarterback battle as a true freshman. He beat out Tyler Cameron and Kevin Sousa for the starting role, but Dave Clawson admits that it wasn't much of a competition. It was clear to anyone watching the early August practices, that Wolford had a better command of the offense, and was simply more talented than both Cameron and Sousa.
Coach Clawson and his staff signed an impressive pair of freshmen quarterbacks during the 2015 recruiting cycle when they signed Kendall Hinton and Kyle Kearns. Both are very accurate quarterbacks, who are highly regarded by scouting services. One could make a legitimate argument that this is the most talented the quarterback position has ever been from top-to-bottom at Wake Forest. How will the quarterback battle play out? I break down each of the three scholarship quarterbacks.
|John Wolford||So.||6-1, 205||0.8435||***, 5.5|
|Kendall Hinton||Fr.||6-0, 185||0.8528||***, 5.6|
|Kyle Kearns||Fr.||6-3, 195||0.8677||****, 5.8|
Wolford started all 12 games for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons last season, and finished with 12 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, while completing 58% of his passes for 2,037 yards. Despite having started a full season, it's difficult to judge Wolford's performance. Wolford played behind the worst offensive line in the country, had zero help from the running game, and had no deep threats or playmakers at receiver.
Wolford progressed throughout the season, as seven of his 14 interceptions took place during the first four games of the season. In the season finale against Duke, Wolford completed 67% of his passes for 251 yards, 3 touchdowns, and zero interceptions. With an improved offensive line and rushing game, as well as understanding of the offense, will Wolford take a big step forward as a sophomore?
As it stands now, Wolford is the projected starter. In spring practice he looked more comfortable and in control of the offense. However, I expect to see Kendall Hinton play some as a true freshman and push Wolford for the starting job. This year again appears to be a rebuilding year for the Deacons. With that in mind, will Clawson turn to one of the freshmen in the middle of the season in hopes of preparing for 2016? That will be a story to watch.
Kendall Hinton was a huge commitment for Coach Clawson and his staff last summer. As a high school junior, Hinton threw for nearly 4,000 yards, and ran for nearly 1,200. He accounted for 52 total touchdowns, and threw only 5 interceptions. Oh, he also won a state title. As a senior, Hinton passed for more than 2,800 yards and ran for more than 900 yards. He had 39 total touchdowns, and threw only 2 interceptions.
Most discuss Hinton's ability to run, which is quite strong, but his passing is underrated. The Wake Forest coaching staff raves about his passing and believes that he can make all of the throws. He has outstanding arm strength, and has all of the physical tools to be an excellent quarterback at the college level. Hinton participated in spring practice, and as a result, has a legitimate opportunity to play as a true freshman. I expect Hinton to be utilized in certain packages.
Kyle Kearns is a very intriguing prospect. On one hand, he was rated as a 4-star recruit by both Rivals and ESPN. On the other hand, his only scholarship offers came from SMU and Wake Forest. His film is very impressive, as is the fact that he threw only 5 interceptions last season. His film shows that he has a strong arm, and has very nice touch.
Kearns is at a disadvantage in 2015, in that he does not have the benefit of having been through spring practice. This takes away critical time for him to receive instruction from coaches, learn the playbook, and develop timing with the receivers. Ultimately, I expect Kearns to redshirt this season, but that doesn't mean he couldn't start in 2016. Either way, if Kearns is the third best quarterback on the roster, then the position is in great position moving forward.