January has been a very successful month for Wake Forest football so far. The 22 million dollar McCreary Field House finally opened up for players and staff members on the 15th and numerous top recruits toured the facility this month on official visits. All of the OV's also resulted in commits reaffirming their verbal to the program, which is great news as the final days before NSD are always a prime time for poaching by other P5 schools.
Right now, Wake stands at #52 in the Rivals 2016 team rankings, but there is potential for the Deacs to rise if they can gain a big recruit in the next seven days. That big recruit’s name is Arkeem Byrd, and he is a priority target that could have a massive impact on this program for years to come.
Byrd is a talented 3* RB from Savannah, GA that the Wake staff has been keeping tabs on for a while now. WF and 20 other FBS programs have extended a scholarship to the Georgia product, including eight Power 5 teams and ACC foes Georgia Tech, Louisville, and Boston College. His 21 offers would rank him #3 in the current class in terms of FBS offers only behind DE Zander Zimmer and OL Tyler Watson and Rankbyoffers.com has him as a top 500 recruit in terms of scholarships. Louisville, Georgia Tech, and Minnesota seem like the main competitors as we head into the closing stages of his recruitment, but WF is absolutely in the mix as well after a successful official visit.
Jenkins HS RB Arkeem Byrd has everything you want in a RB IMO. Some like him at DB, but kid can flat out play https://t.co/Uw0gRhMORc— Jake Rowe (@Rowe247) January 7, 2016
There’s good reason for his decorated offer list too. Byrd was selected as the Savannah Morning News Offensive Player of the Year while running for 1220 yards and 16 TD’s in nine games this season. He also was Region 1- AAA Offensive Player of the Year in Georgia. He’s a back that has a breakout run in him at any moment and is explosive whenever he gets the ball. But don’t just take my word for it; check out his highlight tape. I’ll give you a max of 30 seconds before you’re convinced you want him in a Deacon uniform next season.
Byrd is the type of RB this program has been looking for the last couple of years. He’s a big play machine and perfectly complements the running styles of Matt Colburn and Tyler Bell in the backfield who are guys that are more prone to run N-S rather than make guys miss. The way he plays reminds me a lot of Reggie Bush’s style of running: Quick cuts, great jukes, and momentum changing runs.
Another comparison that comes to mind is Moe Neal when Wake Forest was targeting him earlier on in the year as well. In 2015 Wake ranked 126th in the country in percentage of runs that accumulated at least five yards. You probably didn't need to me to say that either to realize a talent like Byrd would be a much-welcomed addition to the program.
RB Arkeem Byrd recaps Wake visit: "There’s a lot of good, young players there, & the coaches made me feel wanted" https://t.co/cYy8J3csDz— Deacons Illustrated (@WakeRivals) January 18, 2016
The staff is clearly very high on Byrd by having him take is OV with multiple other commits and that feeling seems to be shared by the 2016 class. Multiple commits were actively recruiting Byrd on twitter last week and letting him know the potential this program has in the coming years. There were rumors Byrd was visiting GT this past weekend (They are recruiting him as a DB), but his twitter activity does not confirm if he actually did or not. His OV to Clemson was also cancelled for this upcoming weekend and it is unclear if he will visit anywhere else given how soon National Signing Day is.
Landing Arkeem Byrd over a number of other prestigious programs right before NSD would be an absolutely massive win for this coaching staff. This 2016 class features multiple commits that chose Wake over plenty of other great options and this would truly be the icing on the cake if Byrd ends up choosing the Deacons.
With only a week to go, I will be tweeting any and all news on Byrd and other recruits as the cycle officially comes to a close. Let’s hope Arkeem provides us with some great news soon and Clawson puts the finishing touches on a 2016 class that I am sure will do great things here over the next four years. Go Deacs!
For frequent Wake Forest recruiting news, follow me on Twitter @DeacFan3.