Football season is still a good ways away, and in the coming weeks we’ll be taking a look at recruiting and our new defensive coordinator. So today? Why not have a bit of fun?
I have held a belief for a while that the ACC is the best conference in the nation. I know, shocker for someone who grew up a Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets fan and showed a total disdain for anything that even resembled UGA, Florida, or Alabama.
The past two years have shown that this thought may not be too far-fetched. Last year the ACC had 8 of the top 22 defenses (Wake Forest at 22), and the top two Heisman finishers.
The conference has also produced two of the last four Heisman winners, and in head-to-head matchups outside of the conference the ACC has been dominant. Point blank, right now the ACC is selling.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Cam, why the hell would the Heisman go to anyone in the ACC not named Deandre Francois, Lamar Jackson, Christian Wilkins, or Derwin James?”
Well I’ll tell you why...
The Wake Forest defense for the last 2 years has been the anchor for this football team. It returns experienced starters Duke Ejiofor, Cam Glenn, Jessie Bates, and Jaboree Williams.
New defensive coordinator Jay Sawvel LOVES creating turnovers and making big plays. The changes that he will implement in this defense should allow Wake to have another top-25 defense nationally, if not an even better year.
Unfortunately, that’s not what sells to the media, and that’s not how Wake Forest takes the next step into Clawson’s vision. That’s where the offense, and mainly Kendall Hinton comes into play.
All of the pieces are coming into place for Kendall to have the breakout year we all thought we were going to see last year until he went down with a season ending injury.
He has spent the past 6 months getting healthier, stronger, and faster. The offensive line is also getting better year-by-year with their protection, allowing for a more suitable pass and run block.
Between Cade Carney, Matt Colburn, Arkeem Byrd, and the plethora of running backs currently stockpiled in the backfield, it will take the pressure off of Hinton, which will allow him to make smart decisions both in and out of the pocket.
Wide receivers Cortez Lewis, Chuck Wade, Tabari Hines and Co., are ready to be big time playmakers in the passing game. All of these pieces coming together means that it’s time for Hinton to take the NCAA by storm.
The first four games should be a nice tune up for the Deacs. Hinton will lead them to a 4-0 start, getting revenge for an embarrassing lost to BC, as well as a good win over stout Appalachian State team on the road.
It is then time for the team to really start clicking. The Deacs have played well against FSU, Clemson, and Louisville (and I guess He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named for giving our playbook away) the past three years. This 4 game stretch will make or break the season for Wake Forest.
Last year, the Wake defense kept FSU on its heels but the offense couldn’t convert when called upon. This is where Kendall comes in with his game-breaking ability and knocks off the ‘Noles. A win against the Seminoles, on what is sure to be a nationally televised game, would be the first domino to fall on the way to glory.
Coming off the heels of a huge win at home, the Deacs travel to Clemson to take on the defending National Champions. This is another game where the offense needs to play well, and that comes down to the decision-maker, Kendall Hinton. The Tigers are losing one of the best college QB’s in recent memory, so who knows what state the offense will be in. It’s a perfect time to capitalize.
The Deacs then get a week off before traveling to Atlanta to face the Yellow Jackets. The following week presents a matchup against Louisville and Lamar Jackson in Winston-Salem.
By that point the Deacs will already have the media’s attention, and a great performance against the reigning Heisman Trophy winner will all but finish the job for Hinton. This stretch has been lauded as one of these hardest stretches for any team this season. A win against Louisville and it’s a shoo-in.
Running the gauntlet, or even being very impressive in a loss or two would greatly improve the stock of Hinton. Last year, even with 3 regular season losses (including an absolute DRUBBING at the hands of Houston), Lamar Jackson still found a way to win the Heisman. It’s all about the points.
I have no doubt at all that the defense will get the job done this season and continue to be a dominating force. It’s all going to come down to Kendall Hinton and what kind of decisions he makes on the offensive side of things.
If he makes the leap, the sky is the limit for the Deacs. The offense has slowly been getting better, but the jolt of a playmaker like Hinton is exactly what the doctor ordered for Wake Forest.
If Hinton can use his legs to his ability, make smart throws downfield, as well as make the occasional check down, then he will put the Deacs in a place to succeed and take the NCAA by storm.
Points are what matter in this day and age, and what gets people’s attention. This is what Kendall can do the best.
Best player in the best conference? That should get you the Heisman, and that person could very well be Kendall Hinton. As always, Go Deacs.