Usually in mid-December Wake Forest recruiting news is few and far between. College basketball’s first signing period is officially in the books and college football’s cycle is pretty much wrapped up as well, which leads to some fairly quiet winter months before the new class’s commitments begin. However, for various reasons there is still a lot of moving pieces for the Wake Forest basketball and football recruiting classes that you need to be aware of before you get lost in the holiday season chaos. Here’s the latest update on a few recruits that you should be following over the next couple of weeks in Wake’s biggest programs.
Wake Back in the Mix: 3* OL Demetris Harris
If the name sounds familiar, it’s because Wake was in Harris’ final 3 over the summer before committing to Georgia Tech over the Deacs and USF. The Yellow Jackets always looked like the favorites to land his talents, but the highly touted 3* OL just reopened his recruitment in favor of taking a few official visits prior to National Signing Day. Wake is all set to have one of those OV’s, and Offensive Line coach Nick Tabacca didn’t take long to pay him an in-home visit himself over the weekend.
While Wake seems to be in a very good position here, don’t underestimate Charlie Strong’s arrival at USF in this recruitment. The former UT coach brings with him a ton of tangible success and likely motivation to transform this 2017 USF class into his own. If Harris is part of those plans, Strong will be on him incredibly hard over these next few weeks, if he hasn’t been already. It’s no secret that Wake has struggled in recent years to land some of its top OL targets. This decommitment could give Clawson a chance to land an anchor in his system for multiple years to come.
Official Visit Alert: 3* CB Adam Sparks
Adam Sparks is a Vanderbilt commit that is one of the best prospects in the recruit-rich state of Louisiana. Despite the verbal to one of Wake’s top rivals in recruiting, Sparks seems very open to other options as he received in-home visits from Tulane, Wake, and Missouri recently, the latter two of which he is coming off OVs to over the last couple of weekends. Sparks is still planning on visiting Vandy on January 22, which is good news for the Commodores who will likely get the last pitch before National Signing Day. Given his comments after visiting Mother So Dear earlier this month, I personally see it as a long shot for Sparks to flip to Wake, though his recruitment by Mizzou might be an interesting side-story to follow.
Military Bowl Battle: 3* ATH Ja’Sir Taylor
Wake doesn’t seem to be wavering one bit on its pursuit of current Temple commit Ja’Sir Taylor. I wrote about Taylor two weeks ago in a football recruiting update and how I thought Wake was gaining ground. Since then the following has happened: Temple and Wake have been selected for the Military Bowl, the Owls’ HC has bailed for Baylor, and the Deacs have conducted another in-home visit with the New Jersey ATH.
Wake stopped by again yesterday— G.U.M.P Showtimee6️⃣ (@suppastar_) December 8, 2016
While of course Taylor will be making his decision based on a variety of factors, a Head-to-Head on-field victory during a recruiting battle is about as strong a bonus a team can get. I still think Temple is the favorite in this one, but if Wake pulls off the upset on the 27th, the tides may begin to shift towards Winston-Salem.
Temple plays wake forest in the bowl game— G.U.M.P Showtimee6️⃣ (@suppastar_) December 5, 2016
Victor Dimukeje Trims List, Wake Not on It
Wake is officially out of the running for the talented 3* DT out of Baltimore. It seemed like the Deacs were in prime contention for the Boys Latin standout a few weeks ago after Maryland backed off, but he officially cut Wake from the list over the weekend after an Official Visit to Virginia Tech. This is tough news considering Wake also lost DT Zach Anderson from its 2017 class as well last week as he explores other options.
Wake Basketball’s 2017 Class Still Evolving? Meet Daniel Mading
If you thought Wake basketball’s 2017 recruiting class was complete, think again. There was always speculation Wake would take a 3rd scholarship commit for the upcoming class despite the fact that there are currently only two openings available. Accepting more commits than spots has become commonplace in the college game lately as transfer rates have risen dramatically, often leading to coaches adding players after National Signing Day anyway. Wake’s top target available appears to be former ASU commit Daniel Mading, who at first glance has a name that fits right in with our program.
Wake’s scouting of Mading isn’t anything new, however. The earliest reports of the Deacs’ interest in the 3* big man were back in September 2015, which is around the same time it was publicly noted Wake was interested in Chaundee Brown. My suspicion is that Manning and the staff cooled their interest in Mading after his commitment to the Sun Devils in December 2015, but wasted no time in getting back in the mix after his decommitment over the summer. Wake was in fact one of the first schools mentioned to be in contact with him in July once he was back on the market and it seems the staff has been quiet yet consistent in their recruitment of him all fall long.
Wake Forest, Penn State, & Cincinnati are the latest programs to reach out to 2017 The Rock School/Team Belief big man Daniel Mading.— Julius Kim (@JKim97) December 11, 2016
Wake, Penn State, and Cincinnati are the three schools reportedly in contact with him the most recently. For what it’s worth, Penn State’s class is barren at the moment and Cincinnati already has a big man committed for 2017. His other offers include Virginia Tech, LSU, Memphis, Seton Hall, South Carolina, Texas Tech, and Providence.
As recently as this summer Mading was a 4* PF/C and a top 100 prospect on most scouting sites. He has since fallen on the 247 sports composite to #211, though I suspect his lack of new offers since the decommitment (Many classes are filled up or moved on) and perhaps his transfer from NJ HS Powerhouse St. Anthony’s might’ve had something to do with the drop.
But if recruiting rankings have taught us anything in recent years, it is too avoid all judgment on numbers and trust the eye test. At 6’10 and an incredibly athletic body, Mading’s potential under a coach like Danny Manning is sky high. He shoots decently well from outside the key and could be a major defensive presence once he bulks up with a college weight-room routine. Mading’s best attribute might be his versatility, and being able to potentially guard 3-5 on defense is a trait that should not be taken lightly when assessing prospects. If his style of play reminds you of former Wake 2016 target Thon Maker it’s for good reason; Mading and Maker are cousins from the same town in Australia.
In conclusion, I couldn’t be more high on the idea of adding a high-upside big like Mading to the 2017 class, especially given the lack of frontcourt depth we’ve been experiencing early on this season. Add in the fact that John Collins is getting serious pro looks and you have a situation where keeping the 2017 class as it is would be playing a dangerous game. Let’s get Mading up for an Official Visit soon and have him flying back to Florida a Demon Deacon by the start of the new year.
Reload, Not Rebuild: Wake Men’s Soccer
It’s no secret that Wake’s College Cup team will look very different in 2017 compared to this season. For one, it loses 3 first team All-Americans in Ian Harkes, Jacori Hayes, and Alec Ferrell, all of whom will be extremely difficult to replace on paper. Fortunately, Bobby Muuss is set to bring in yet another top 10 recruiting class for 2017 that will look to add depth to a side that will return a fair amount of its core pieces outside of central midfield. It’s current recruiting class looks like this:
Matthew Real: #3 Def, #4 Overall. Philadelphia Union Academy
Mark McKenzie: #9 Def, #50 Overall, Philadelphia Union Academy
Brandon Servania: #41 MF, #89 Overall, FC Dallas Academy
Andrew Pannenberg: #11 GK, #124 Overall, Charlotte Soccer Academy
Wake has done an excellent job at picking up talent from northeast MLS academies, as Real and McKenzie will join former Union product Joey Dezart at Wake in the fall and NY Red Bull prospects Steven Echevarria and Kevin Politz played a huge role this season. Of course, Ian Harkes was a member of DC United’s system growing up and might sign a Homegrown deal with his former club prior the the MLS Superdraft.
There are currently 11 players in the top 100 of 2017 who are unsigned from those three academies. It’s more likely than not that Wake Forest adds someone from this crop to its recruiting class by the time it’s all said and done. The last two classes under Bobby Muuss have been 11 deep and 8 deep respectively. With 8 scholarships opening up for 2017, expect this College Cup run to lead to a few more top 100 commits by mid-March.
That’s all for this week’s BSD Recruit Report. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @DeacFan3 for all things Wake Forest recruiting and as always, Go Deacs!