Sophomore quarterback John Wolford enters his second year as a Demon Deacon with as much experience as any rising sophomore in the nation. The QB out of Jacksonville, Florida, was thrown into the fire from day one and started all 12 games as a true freshman under first year head coach Dave Clawson.
Despite struggling at times behind an offensive line that was unable to keep him upright, Wolford finished the season throwing for over 2,000 yards and ultimately concluded the year with 12 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. While the touchdown to interception ratio was not perfect, Wolford showed substantial progression as the year continued and over the final half of the season threw six touchdowns with only three interceptions including an impressive 24-36 for 251 yards, three touchdowns and no picks in the season finale loss against Duke.
If Wake is going to improve upon their 3-9 record from a season ago, a vast improvement on the offensive side of the football will be required and John Wolford will need to be one of the guys ready to go from day one. While Wolford's vision from the pocket has been solid since the day he walked onto campus, it took time for him to get comfortable in the offense and get acquainted with the rigor and speed of the college game. The talented quarterback Demon Deacon fans saw over the second half of the season, who was able to pick apart the Duke defense with relative ease, will likely be pressed into a bigger role from the first snap of his second season.
Wolford is the clear number one starter for next season and alongside Isaiah Robinson, Rocky Reid, or Dez Wortham in the backfield will be relying upon an improved offensive front in order to operate the Clawffense. John has already shown a lot of talent and has a knack for putting some zip on the ball to get it out to his receivers in a timely manner. He has shown confidence in his arm beyond his years and while he made some typical freshmen mistakes, had the courage to split-second decisions and spiral the ball into tight gaps down field.
One specific throw from last season specifically embodying both Wolford's cannon for an arm, as well as his confidence was his final throw against Boston College which ultimately ended the game. While he never looked off his receiver down the left sideline and ultimately placed it in a defender's arms, Wolford trusted his ability to make a throw down the sideline into tight coverage and really placed some zip on the ball but was simply unable to find his man. These types of plays are those Wolford will study over and over again and hopefully as a sophomore is able to then make his progressions, make the correct read, and then rely on his nature talent and ability to complete the pass downfield.
(Throw starts at 1:28)
There are a handful of areas Demon Deacon fans should worry about next year, particularly with many questions still out there about the offensive line, but with John Wolford at the helm the quarterback position should not be one of them. The Wolf will only continue to improve in old gold and black and we should all look forward to his sophomore season.
As always, go Deacs and check back as the week rolls on as the Blogger So Dear crew continues to examine the 2015 football team position by position.