It’s official, junior Zeek Rodney will be back this fall for the Demon Deacons as Dave Clawson announced he was taking summer classes and will be back on the field July 27th. While it’s simple to say this is a big return for the Deacs, what does this actually mean?
Back in the 2015 season, Zeek was a mainstay for the Deacs defense. He started all 12 games and went for a stat line of 22 tackles with 2 TFL. At 6’1, 295 lbs, This is exactly what the doctor ordered for Wake. While he is not the tallest on the line, Paris Black is listed at 6’3, he is by far the biggest by about 15 pounds. He fits right on the inside of the line. He can use his big body and aggression to fill some gaps, draw double teams, and use him to either get immediate pressure up the middle, or force the running backs to have to try to play the outside more, leading them right into the speedy linebackers Wake boasts. His experience also will play a big role as Willie Yarbary, who has his own strengths, was the only defensive tackle listen on the spring practice depth chart with any starts to their name. With the addition of a proven starter I envision him and Yarbary as the two starters.
The loss of Chris Stewart and Josh banks definitely hurt, and one of my biggest questions for this team heading into the season would be how would Wake address their this. Now the team has Rodney, Yarbary, Elontae Bateman, Paris Black, and Sulaiman Kamara as their DT’s. This is a good crop of guys and as I said earlier I foresee Rodney and Yarbary being the starters. I would assume Bateman moves from the starter spot to 2nd string but is heavily involved in the rotation. For the other spot I would would say the redshirt freshman Kamara get it, while Black moves into the DE rotation behind Duke Ejiofor. But in my opinion you couldn’t really go wrong here. With Sawvel’s new defense, bodies and speed will reign supreme, so this addition works very well to add a really good new body into the fray.
Overall, I’m more than happy to welcome Zeek back, and I know the guys on the team are as well. Good body to have and an even better person to help try to get this team back to a bowl game. What are your thought’s on Zeek’s return, and what challenges the Deacs face in the summer?