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Notes from Wake’s Football Roster Update

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My personal grudge with Wake has ended

Wake Forest v Syracuse Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

If you follow me on Twitter (please don’t, I am a nuisance), you might have noticed I’ve had a bit of a vendetta against Wake Forest Football over the last month or so.

I think there’s probably 20+ of tweets like these, but with the heartbreaking yet understandable news that Sage Surratt was opting out of the season and entering the NFL Draft, Wake decided to have pity on me (and me alone) and updated their roster for the 2020 season (whenever/if that happens.)

Numbers Game

A couple of things here:

  1. Wake finally has a number 0: Tyriq Hardimon. While he hasn’t made a sizable impact during a game (yet), I’ve only ever gotten glowing reviews about the type of person he is both in practice and off the field. So if he got the green light for it, I’m all aboard.
  2. There’s seemingly an underlying theme that the single digit players are going to be asked to produce. Jaquarri Roberson is going to have to have the light turn on now that Kendall Hinton is in the pros. Donavon Greene and Donald Stewart are going to HAVE to produce without Sage. Boogie is going to be expected to do Boogie things. Kenneth Walker III has all the tools to be one of the best RBs in the ACC. Jacorey Johns has to build on last season and go from having a quietly good season to a loud one. Ryan Smenda Jr and JaCquez Williams are the leaders of arguably the best group of the team. Sulaiman Kamara will probably be a captain, while Tyler Williams is a budding star, Hardimon, Nasir Greer, and Ja’Sir Taylor are all part of a secondary that has a few questions to be answered. Oh and we can’t forget about this guy:

Position Switches (and Clarity?)

Zach Ranson is now listed as a Defensive Back after spending in time at Linebacker last year. All signs point to him fighting for time with Traveon Redd for snaps at Rover behind Luke Masterson. This move was also probably helped by the fact that Wake still has 7 playable guys for 2 positions, which is a welcome thing for the LB corps for once.

Kendrell Flowers announced he was opting out of the season, so Wake will be looking for a third back to spell Christian Beal-Smith and Kenneth Walker III. 2020 signee Justice Ellison, who came in looking to figure into the slot receiver equation, is now listed as a RB. Ellison has a laser timed 4.43 40 and a 4.06 shuttle, so there’s another home run threat added to the backfield.

With Surratt opting out, it leaves a glaring need for some reshuffling at WR. During the abbreviated spring, Nolan Groulx was getting a lot of work as an outside receiver and now looks to factor into the conversation for Wake’s other starting wideout across from Donavon Greene. Groulx has always been a stellar route runner, was a top 400 recruit and was only 3 spots (positionally) behind Greene in the recruiting rankings, so the talent is obviously there. This makes the outside fully cemented as a 5 man group: Greene, Groulx, AT Perry, grad transfer Donald Stewart, and true freshman Jahmal Banks who certainly has the build already to be an ACC caliber wide out.

At slot, now that 2 options have been placed elsewhere, the picture also appears much clearer. Behind Roberson will be redshirt freshman Taylor Morin, redshirt sophomore Isaiah Isaac and true freshman Ke’Shawn Williams. The cupboard isn’t thin at any of these positions, but very untested. It will be interesting to see just how much someone like Banks or Williams plays as no matter if they play 1 or 11 games, everyone will retain a year of eligibility.

Weight Room

Some notable weight gains:

  • WR Jahmal Banks is up from 174 lbs to now stand 6’4, 214
  • OL George Sell is up from 260 to 285lbs
  • DB Zach Ranson went from 205 to now being listed as 6’2 224, while freshman JJ Roberts put on 11 pounds and now stands at 5’11, 175
  • RB Ahmani Marshall put on 20lbs to now being 6’2 210 while Christian Beal-Smith is now up 10 pounds to 201
  • QB Sam Hartman is up to 215lbs while Michael Kern is 6’2, 187 after both put on more than 12 pounds each
  • OL Zach Tom put on 15 pounds and now stands at 6’5, 305, as well Sean Maginn who is now 6’3, 305
  • DT Sulaiman Kamara is fully embracing the DT life, now sitting at 6’2, 300, while Boogie added 10 pounds himself to now be 6’5 285

Notable weight losses:

  • Freshman DL Malik Puryear dropped 25 pounds and now is 6’5, 245
  • DE Shamar McCollum dropped 13 pounds and now sits at 6’4, 222
  • LB Jeff Burley shed over 10 pounds himself and is now 6’2, 222