The Wake Forest 2019 football class is coming along nicely for Dave Clawson and the staff, with a number of highly talented prospects choosing Winston-Salem as their new home over the last few months. After the team’s thrilling Belk Bowl win last December, Wake has done well to build on its current momentum and get guys to buy in on the potential this program has in the coming years. Given all the recent news, I thought I’d take a look at 3 key notes about the 2019 recruiting class as we head into the packed summer months.
Filling Up Fast
The 2019 Demon Deacon recruiting class is currently 10 deep, and if you feel like that’s a lot for mid-June, it’s because it is. In the Clawson Era, Wake has never had more than 9 commits by 6/11 (2016 & 2018), and has averaged just 5.8 commits by this time over the last 5 years.
Now, a lot of the uptick naturally has to do with the advanced timeline of the college football recruiting cycle, but even still only 15 programs in the country have more than ten commits as of today. You’ve seen a lot of recruits jumping at the Wake Forest offer and giving a verbal shortly after receiving the scholarship, which may not have happened a few years ago when the program was coming off back-to-back 3-9 seasons. And with more wins on the way and the academic prestige of the school always being a selling point, it’s easy to see why the staff has been so successful at filling up the class efficiently so far.
Gray Brings Elite Athleticism to the Secondary
The staff has talked in the past about the importance of recruiting locally and making sure the program is bringing in top talent from areas that are within a couple hour drive from campus. 3* Safety Jeremiah Gray of Charlotte Christian fits that mold perfectly, and the impressive Hudl highlights are further complemented by a very strong showing at a Nike showcase just a couple months ago.
At the Charlotte Nike Football The Opening showcase back in April, Gray finished the session with a Nike Football Rating above 100, a score that demonstrates his elite athleticism not just in the Southeast, but across the country. Gray’s score (108.66) ranks 121st in the nation and in the 99th percentile of all athletes tested in the class. The Wake staff is well-known for developing talent once they get on campus, and when you have athletes like this coming into the weight-room on day 1, its hard not to be excited about where this program is headed.
So Who’s Next?
As we head into the summer months, the momentum on the recruiting front for the Deacs is likely going to continue to roll. So who are some prospects you should keep an eye on that Wake will be in the mix for prior to the season getting started? Nolan Groulx is one of the top guys on the board right now, a 4* WR from Cornelius, NC who recently reopened his recruitment after a verbal to Wisconsin. Groulx has all the potential to contribute early and often for the Deacs, lining up in the slot and potentially playing a similar role to what Greg Dortch does now in the system.
Big time WR Nolan Groulx talks #Wisconsin decommitment and what comes next https://t.co/ttMwuzZX96 #UGA #Vols #Stanford #WakeForest #SouthCarolina #TAMU @nolan_groulx pic.twitter.com/HItYdLA5a2— Adam Friedman (@RivalsFriedman) May 10, 2018
The competition is intense in this one, but Wake does have a few things in its favor here, most notably location and the fact he’s a former Davidson Day player; The same HS Sam Hartman, Chase Monroe, and Cade Carney all suited up for. If the Deacs can beat out South Carolina, NC State, and Texas A&M for his signature, it would be one of the biggest commits of Clawson’s tenure so far. As for a timeline, pre-September seems like the most likely scenario.
In terms of other prospects, Isaiah Washington recently listed Rutgers, Duke, Wake Forest, and NC State as the schools talking to him the most at the moment. He’s a talented 3* WR out of Florida with plenty of size on the outside at 6’3. Academics are important to him, which should bode well for Wake and Duke here, and the Deacs currently don’t have a WR committed for the class. Considering he isn’t based in NC, he’s going to do a tour of State, Duke, and Wake all on one trip, and the school that “wins” that weekend in terms of the best unofficial visit will probably have a leg up the rest of the way.
3-star Florida wide receiver Isaiah Washington has spent the spring collecting offers. He talks the four Power Five programs recruiting him the hardest.— Woody Wommack (@RivalsWoody) June 10, 2018
Wake is still looking to add another RB to the class, and 3*s Shadrick Byrd and Tony Mathis look to be the top options here. The former of which rushed for over 1,100 yards last year in Class 7A Football in Alabama, while the latter holds offers from Louisville, Purdue, and West Virginia. I think Wake and Duke will be major players for Byrd in the coming months, while WF has already made Mathis’ Top 5 with UL, WVU, Purdue, and Iowa State. Both would be a welcome addition to the class and complement Kendrell Flowers at the RB position.
Finally, Mario Kendricks is a 3* Florida-based DL that listed the Deacs in his Final 7 just last month. Wake will have to beat out some quality schools to land his signature, but they do have the advantage of being the first to offer of all the schools he is still considering. Virginia Tech is putting the full court press on him as well and he took an unofficial visit to Blacksburg over the weekend, but if Wake can get him to campus at some point over the summer, they’ll have a shot in this til the end.
Top 7️⃣....‼️ @CJ_Clarke1 thanks for the edit #GoHokies #TogetherWeSwarm #L1C4 #1Pack1Goal #GoHoos ⚔️ #GoDeacs #cyclONEnation pic.twitter.com/9EHgumasbc— Mario Kendricks Jr. (@22problemsss) May 20, 2018
The Wake Forest 2019 class is currently ranked 35th in the nation on 247sports Composite and 33rd on Rivals. Given the pieces the staff already has committed (Some of which will receive rankings/profile boosts in the coming months) as well as the prospects Wake is currently in the mix for, there is certainly a shot for this to be one of the better classes in the program’s history when it is all said and done. For all the latest Wake Forest recruiting news and developments, you can follow along on Twitter @DeacFan3 and stay tuned to Blogger So Dear throughout the summer.
Note: This article was written prior to the news that 3* QB Brendon Clark had decommitted from Wake Forest. Small adjustments have been made to accommodate the change.