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Wake Forest Positional Recap and 2017 Preview: Offensive Line

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Wake Forest will have at least two new starters in 2017.

NCAA Football: Tulane at Wake Forest
Wake will miss Tyler Hayworth
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The offensive line has been somewhat a priority for Clawson ever since he took over. However, despite that, Wake has had trouble putting together a unit that could consistently run block or protect the quarterback.

The most telling stat of Wake’s improvement on the offensive line is the average yard per rush. In the Clawson era, Wake has gone from averaging 1.3 (!!!!!) to 3.6 yards per attempt, indicating that the unit is in fact improving year over year.

Another sign of improvement was the fact that last year, no single player for Wake had over 500 yards rushing the football. This year, there were three players with over 500 yards and 17 total rushing touchdowns for the team, an improvement from 12 the year before.

This group entered the season under rare college football circumstances, as all five players had starting experience. Rarely in college football do you see that. With that being said, this unit played hard and greatly helped the offense chug along.

Going forward, it’ll be interesting to see how the Deacs can replace Josh Harris and Tyler Hayworth, two valuable seniors that have seen the transition from Grobe to Clawson. A’lique Terry will probably man one spot with competition for the other vacant spot. Nathan Gilliam, Jake Benzinger, and Patrick Osterhage should compete for playing time.

On the recruiting side, Wake has three recruits in this upcoming class in Loic Nya (6 foot 3, 265), Allan Rapplyea (6 foot 5, 265), and Zach Tom (6 foot 4, 270). Wake has been known to typically redshirt linemen, giving them a year in a college workout program and allowing players to bulk up to the 300 pound range.

With Wake returning three of its five starters, look for Clawson and company to try and continue to lean on the improvement of the guys up front as he moves the program forward.

In addition to losing his leadership, we’re also going to miss Ty Hayworth’s highlight videos.

Go Deacs!