Despite never playing a game in the Black and Gold, there’s no denying the fact that expectations for Rocky Reid are relatively high this upcoming season. And why wouldn’t they be? After all, rarely does Wake Forest get the chance to beat out SEC schools such as Tennessee, Arkansas, and Georgia for a Top 600 recruit. A commit with that kind of offer list is bound to carry the weight of extra fan anticipation, whether it’s fair or not. Even after redshirting a full year due to injury, many people still believe he has the ability to come in and contribute significantly in the backfield for the Deacs. The real question is: Will he?
The first thing to look at is where he was ranked on the depth chart this spring. In the March 25 scrimmage, the Concord native ran it 23 times (team high) for 68 yards and picked up 24 more in the receiving game on four catches. It's important to note that a majority of those yards, 38, came on just two carries, showing his ability to create big plays on the ground on occasion for the Deacs. He was playing with the 2nd team throughout the day.
Tyler Bell was RB with the 1s, Rocky Reid running with the 2s. Matt Colburn on the shelf.— Deacons Illustrated (@WakeRivals) March 25, 2016
Two weeks later, Reid was the starting Running Back for Team Gold in the 2016 Spring Game carrying the ball 16 times for 41 yards and fumbling once (though it was recovered). The fact he started means he was clearly fairly high on the RB ladder in mid-April, getting a premier role in Team's Gold's underclassmen-filled offense. He did lead the game in rushing attempts as well, with five more than 2015 starter Tyler Bell and eight more than early enrolled freshman Cade Carney.
Here's the full set of offensive stats from today's Wake Forest spring game pic.twitter.com/GkDk2eLut6— Deacons Illustrated (@WakeRivals) April 10, 2016
The lackluster 2.6 YPC in the game is far from ideal, but one has to realize that the spring game features an O-Line that is far from a finished product and can often be a mix-and-match collection of players. For what it’s worth, Wake only had one player (Carney) that eclipsed 3.0 YPC that game, so it is not as though he underperformed comparatively.
There’s still a lot of time left to go until Tulane, but if I was a betting man I’d put my money on Reid getting at least 10 touches in his college debut in September. He clearly was in a fairly good position on the depth chart a few months ago and nothing has happened recently to indicate that has changed.
The player I can see most affecting his number of touches is Cade Carney since they are similar types of RBs and both entering this season with the same level of college experience (Reid is listed at 6’, 220, Carney at 5’11, 215). Given the fact that Carney has received rave reviews and none of the 2015 tailbacks did anything to stand out last year, he probably has just as decent a chance at starting as anyone.
With that being said, I’ll give it a 33% chance Rocky gets the nod at the beginning of the season with Bell and Carney equally taking up the rest of the percentages. If one thing is for sure, it's that we are entering a 2016 Running Back battle that might be the most interesting it has been in a long time for the Demon Deacons.