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Report: Wake Forest Linebackers Coach Clark Lea Expected to Be Hired by Notre Dame

The Deacs lose another member from the defensive staff.

NCAA FOOTBALL: NOV 01 Notre Dame at Navy Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images

The attrition keeps hitting the Wake Forest Football program’s defensive staff. Last month defensive coordinator, Mike Elko, accepted the opportunity to become Notre Dame’s new defensive coordinator. Today, Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel is reporting that Elko is expected to hire Clark Lea, who was Wake Forest’s linebackers coach last season.

Clark Lea came to Wake Forest this past season after spending time as an assistant at Syracuse, UCLA, Bowling Green, and South Dakota State. In my opinion, Lea did a fantastic job for Wake Forest and this is a big loss.

Lea coached a very good linebacker unit that improved under his watch. Marquel Lee was outstanding this season, and finished with 105 tackles, including 20 tackles for loss. He clearly should have been named 1st team All-ACC, but was inexplicably named to just 2nd team. He also did a fine job coaching Jaboree Williams and Thomas Brown. Brown’s strong showing in the Military Bowl won him the MVP of the game.

In addition to his ability to develop players, Lea also demonstrated a strong acumen as a recruiter. Though these commitments are currently just verbal, the linebacker group in this class is very strong. Chase Monroe was won seemingly every award imaginable in the state of North Carolina, while D.J. Taylor, Jeffery Burley, and Jake Simpson round out a group that will be the foundation of an excellent run defense in the future.

We will continue to keep you updated as we learn how Dave Clawson plans to replenish his defensive staff. Wake Forest is reportedly close to hiring Arkansas’ defensive coordinator, Robb Smith, but nothing has officially been announced.