You may have heard that things didn't quite go the Deacs' way this week on the recruiting trail. After a valiant effort by the staff over the last couple months with 5* CG target Ayo Dosunmu, the Chicago-native committed to local Illinois on Thursday night. While Wake didn't necessarily win this recruiting battle, it'd be harsh to truly label it a loss given the odds stacked against us from the beginning. Illinois had the hometown card, the Assistant Coach-Recruit connection, and about a two-year head start. If they didn't land the verbal commitment from Dosunmu, it would've been a humongous upset as far as these things go in the recruiting world.
But with the #WhyNotWake vibes officially in the past, I'd like to talk about where the 2018 class can go from here and who might be targets still on our radar. While guys like Devoe and Dosunmu are officially off the board, there are still a couple names I want to mention as we head into the first signing period this November. It's highly unlikely we get a fourth commitment by next month, but the opportunity is absolutely there to lay the groundwork this winter and close the class strong in the spring. Here are a couple names to keep an eye on.
Jamie Lewis, Findlay Prep (NV), #119
Lewis is a 4* Georgia PG product who was originally committed to NC State up until last month. He then announced he was reopening his recruitment and heading out to HS powerhouse Findlay Prep (NV) for his Senior year, hinting at a spring signing. Wake was one of a couple schools that reportedly reached out shortly after his decommitment, and also had him in for an unofficial visit back in June.
For those of you who aren't familiar with Lewis, he broke onto the scene in 2015 when he led Georgia Stars U16 to a Peach Jam title on the Nike circuit. He then went on to win a state title last year for Westlake (GA) in the state's highest classification, all while picking up interest from Kansas, Baylor, UConn, and others.
In June 2016, Eric Bossi of Rivals.com wrote an article talking about the standouts of the Nike Elite 100 camp, in which he mentions prospects like 5* Cole Anthony, 5*, and now likely ineligible, Jahvon Quinerly, Ayo Dosunmu, and Jamie Lewis. An unfortunate sequence of injuries kept Lewis off the AAU circuit for the majority of this summer, and dropped his ranking in a couple of scouting services. But make no mistake, at his best Jamie Lewis was one of the top players in the 2018 class last year, and could be a huge pickup for the Deacs if they can steal him late.
His highlight real reminds me a lot of Brandon Childress' coming out of high school; full of tough finishes at the rim and an absolutely nasty crossover. I've giffed (giphed?) a couple of the best clips below. Keep in mind that these are over a year old at this point as well.
Tough Finish: Check
Fast Break Smooth Pull-Up: Check
I just watched those five times in a row and am all aboard the Jamie Lewis Hype Train. In fact, I'm the conductor. Hop on board.
Jalen Lecque, Christ School (NC), #31 in 2019
Wake Forest was one of Lecque's first offers this spring after some dominant performances for Southern Stampede on the Nike tour. Much like many other prospects that the staff finds early, his recruitment immediately blew up with dozens of other top programs reaching out to the highly-athletic PG. Lecque is technically a member of the Class of 2019, but that's only due to a recent reclassification in which he moved down to the junior class. If persuaded by the right pitch, he has the ability and course credit to jump to the next level in 2018-19 if he wants to.
STORY: Jalen Lecque Postpones Kentucky Visit; Talks Upcoming NC State Visit ... https://t.co/BaMWxGMsDk— Chip Miller (@BLUEChip_Miller) October 20, 2017
In addition to the fact that Wake was on him early, Lecque also recently moved to North Carolina to attend the Christ School over in Asheville. The close proximity will allow the staff to bring Lecque in multiple times over the course of the season for unofficial visits if he's interested, and that could pay off in dividends long term.
Lecque currently sits at #10 in the 2019 247sports rankings and he may be set on keeping his reclassification for now. But I wouldn't be surprised if the staff has already reached out to the 5* about potentially getting the keys to an ACC offense a year early and being the next in line of Wake Point Guards to the league. Oh, and if the 5* status didn't already tell you, Lecque is really, really good.
I want every Wake game ever to start like this.
And have more of this.
This works too.
You can't teach Russell Westbrook-like athleticism. Let's host Jalen on campus this winter and get this kid in some black and gold.
Thoughts on Alternative Options:
The "FBI Decommits"- I've had a couple of people ask me about guys like Courtney Ramey (#37), Anfernee Simons (#12), and Jahvon Quinerly (#19) the last couple of days. All of them are now back on the market due to the chaos that has struck the sport with recent FBI probes and findings. Given the attention these guys are getting from other high major programs all at once, I don't think there will be much contact between Wake and these prospects. There's simply no inherent advantage Wake has over the other 25+ programs at the moment (Ex: Location, current friend who is a commit/player, early offer) that would allow us to stand out. While their recruitments are certainly interesting, you shouldn't dedicate effort into knowing these names other than rooting for them to land outside of the ACC.
Texas, Illinois, Ohio St, Mizzou, Arkansas, Marquette, Purdue, Clemson, Wake, Cinci & Tex A&M have reiterated their offer for Courtney Ramey— Corey Evans (@coreyevans_10) October 3, 2017
Grad Transfer PG: This is certainly a realistic option, especially if Bryant Crawford ends up declaring for the draft and minutes open up at the PG spot. Manning has brought in a post-grad in 3 of his 4 seasons so far and might want a short term, one-year fix at PG before locking down a 2019 prospect. Wake is reportedly in a fantastic spot with 4* 2019 PG Anthony Harris, and going after an interim floor general might be a clear indication they expect to land him next summer. Throwing out names here would be wildly irresponsible and ineffective, but it is an option to look for next spring.
Drue Drinnon: As you all know, recruiting can be an extremely fluid and unpredictable process. That being said, I am surprised that we haven't been listed at all with Drue Drinnon in recent months, a talented 3* PG out of Georgia. Drinnon listed Wake and UGA as the two schools coming after him the hardest back in May, and then again in late July when he mentioned he wanted an October decision. Here we are on October 21 without a PG commit for the 2018 class, and we haven't been linked with Drinnon at all since that article. In fact, below is a list of schools he was most recently connected with and none of them were mentioned over the summer.
2018 University School guard Drue Drinnon has been offered by New Mexico; Akron, Dayton & Georgetown showing further interest— Corey Evans (@coreyevans_10) October 19, 2017
Simply put, I'd love to get back involved with Drue Drinnon and have him on campus sometime in the next few months. He's one of the toughest competitors in the class of 2018 and there is two years worth of familiarity between him and the staff that can be tapped into. Maybe the connection has been quietly kept alive all this time, but it would be odd for it not to be mentioned at all since July. Regardless, Drinnon would be a great late addition to this class and it'll be interesting to see if this multi-year recruitment picks up some steam as we head into November.
Danny Manning has Wake Forest in top 5 of 2018 247Sports Composite Recruiting Rankings w Isaiah Mucius commitment. https://t.co/Y1TFxft8qw— Jerry Meyer (@jerrymeyer247) September 18, 2017
The best part about recruiting is that there is probably just as likely a chance any of the above options happen as there is they don't. Could any of us predicted signing a 4* French PF last October when we were looking to close out the 2017 class? What about Sam Japhet-Mathias or Donovan Mitchell; guys who Wake wasn't linked with whatsoever until pretty much hours before their commitment.
This staff certainly likes to work in the shadows and surprise us sometimes so keep that in mind heading into the spring signing period. It's always a fun ride seeing how these things play out. It's even more fun when you already know you have three stud commits in the class and anything extra is a cherry on top. You can follow me on Twitter @DeacFan3 and stay tuned to Blogger So Dear for the most up-to-date Wake Forest recruiting news. Let's hope some good news on the recruiting trail is coming sooner rather than later.