ESPN has ranked how strong each ACC team at each positional unit. Today we break down ESPN's receiver rankings. For their purposes they included tight ends with this group, which certainly helped bolster Wake Forest's ranking. ESPN ranked Wake Forest 11th, just in between Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech. Is this accurate? Let's examine.
Wide receiver is a position where Wake fans have seen the most immediate impact from Dave Clawson's recruiting efforts. In 2015, Wake Forest had 5 receivers with more than 30 receptions. All of them, with the exception of Cam Serigne, were recruited by Clawson and his staff. Wake returns all receivers except for K.J. Brent, who was second on the team in receiving yards.
Wake's top receiver this year should be redshirt sophomore Cortez Lewis. He hauled in 47 receptions for 611 yards and 4 touchdowns last season. I fully expect all of those numbers to improve, and the sophomore from Alabama has all of the physical tools to take another step forward this season.
I also expect that Chuck Wade will take a major step forward. The speedster from Jacksonville had 33 receptions for 348 yards last year, and that should also increase. Some of this will depend on how long the Wake Forest offensive line can block, but if Wolford or Hinton can get Wade the ball in space, then he will make plays after that. Wade and Tabari Hines will form a nice duo of players at the slot position.
Wake's primary red zone targets this season will be Cam Serigne, who we all know about, and redshirt freshman Scotty Washington. Washington has great size at 6'5", and also has very good hands. Wake's going to be able to win a lot of jump balls in red zone situations, and should be able to increase the touchdown to red zone trip ratio. Finally, sophomore Alex Bachman has had an excellent spring. I would not be surprised at all to see him see a lot of meaningful snaps this fall, and move the chains for the Deacs. I also really like Steven Claude, who redshirted last season. He had an excellent high school career, and was one of Wake's top rated recruits in 2015.
Jared Crump is a question mark at this point, as we need to see how he recovers from his injury, which prevented him from playing in the 2015 season. He has been sure-handed throughout his career, and is part of the reason that receiver is probably Wake's strongest unit.
Is 11th the right spot? It's probably about right, but given Wake's youth at the position, I see a lot of upside potential here. Many players proved themselves as freshmen, and they will only get better by making the "sophomore jump" as well as improvements at quarterback, running back, and on the offensive line. Wake's passing attack should have more explosiveness in 2016, and this young receiving corps is a major reason why.
Tomorrow we'll take a look at Wake's offensive line. If there are other types of articles that you would like to see written, please let us know and we will do what we can to accommodate.