Wake Forest's 2018 recruiting class is already one of the best in the Clawson era. Rivals has it listed currently at 58th in the country and 247sports/Scout has it ranked 52nd with room to grow. Dave Clawson said during the early signing period that he thought the current class was "90-95% full", which means the staff is very likely looking to add 2-3 more pieces to it by the time February rolls around. Here are three names I'd keep an eye on in the coming weeks that could end up wearing the Black and Gold at the beginning of next season.
Rivals Rank: 5.5
Competition: Utah State, Boise State
Willis is a talented 3* TE/ATH who was offered Monday afternoon by Dave Clawson and the staff after a strong senior season. The Texas prospect posted up excellent numbers in the state's 6A Classification this year, which is filled with some of the best talent in the nation year in and year out. He was voted the MVP of his region's classification and led his high school Arlington Martin to an 11-2 record (Fun fact: Arlington Martin beat Permian in the 6A state playoffs; the school Friday Night Lights is based off of).
Blessed to receive an offer from Wake Forest ‼️ pic.twitter.com/l48uLNOVKl— Brayden Willis (@Bwillis_11) January 15, 2018
Over the course of the recruiting cycle, Willis has earned offers from Boise State, Arizona, Illinois, Houston, and more. He is fresh off a visit to Utah State that seemed to go quite well, and has another OV scheduled to Boise on January 26th according to 247sports. The most likely visit window for Wake would be the weekend of February 2-4, and as long as Willis is still uncommitted by then, the Deacs should have a shot in this one.
Rivals Rank: 5.5
Competition: Iowa State, Louisville
Crim is a 3* DB from Florida that has been on our radar for a while now. He was originally committed to UCF (S/o to the #NattyChamps), before reopening his recruitment on June 7th to review all his options. Wake then entered the mix, along with fellow P5 programs Iowa State, Louisville, and Notre Dame, but none earned his commitment before the first signing window last month. Notre Dame seemed to be the favorite in October, but my guess is their DB spots filled up prior to Crim feeling ready to make a decision.
At the moment, Iowa State has the lone OV scheduled (1/27) for the prospect and a few Crystal Ball predictions in their favor as well. However, Crim claimed earlier this month to have no leaders in his recruitment, and if Wake wanted to bring him to campus for a big weekend in February I'd expect him to take the OV.
The real question is whether or not the Deacs need another DB in this class, particularly with 2018 commits Nasir Greer and Zion Kieth already enrolled for the spring and Kenneth Dicks being one of the more highly-touted prospects we've had in recent years. Stay tuned to this recruitment and whether or not rumblings of an Official Visit come out of the woodwork in the coming weeks.
Rivals Rank: 5.5
State: New Jersey
Competition: Rutgers (Verbal Commit)
I'll start off by saying this recruitment might be a little bit of a long shot. Mickens, a current Rutgers commit, has had virtually no contact with the Wake Forest staff for the majority of the 2018 recruiting cycle as far as I can tell. No interviews mentioning the Deacs, Top 10 lists with Wake in it, or connections to the school based on location or former teammates. However, while looking through Director of Player Personnel/Recruiting Taylor Redd's Twitter 'Follows' in recent days, Mickens' account appeared, and subsequently the information that he chose not to sign with Rutgers during the first window. This allows coaches from other programs like Wake to recruit and potentially flip him by the time the next National Signing Day comes around.
When asked by NJ.com why he didn't sign an NLI in December he said “I mean, it’s just -- because I wasn’t planning on signing in December. My goal was to sign in February. Ever since I got the offer, I’ve been planning on signing in February." Interesting. I just don't really see a reason why a recruit who has verbally committed to a school wouldn't sign a letter of intent unless he wanted to keep open the possibility of a better option coming into the fold later on. If ACC football, a program on the rise, and an excellent education appeal to him, this could be the better option he's looking for. It wouldn't be the first time Wake has flipped a Jersey commit at the buzzer (Hi, Ja'Sir Taylor!).
As the early signing period approaches, where does Wake Forest football stand in terms of its 2018 class? https://t.co/n3Bmchyw1d— ACCSports.com (@ACCSports) December 14, 2017
In conclusion, WR and DB seem to be the two positions that the staff is most interested in adding to before the regular signing period opens up February 7th. I can also see the staff taking a "Best Available" type option as well if something unexpected happens and a former top target reopens their recruitment late.
My guess is the staff lands two more prospects and the 2018 class finishes about where it is currently ranked given the fact that every other school is probably going to do something similar. If there's one thing that holds true about recruiting, however, it's that things can always change faster than you expected. For more Wake Forest recruiting news and updates, stay tuned to Blogger So Dear and follow me on Twitter @DeacFan3.