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Projected Wake Forest Football Two-Deep Depth Chart: Offense

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Can they continue to break records?

NCAA Football: ACC Kickoff Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Fall camp is right around the corner, and even without a fully updated roster(please give me updated weights and heights, I beg), the guys are getting ready to enter a month of jockey for position as well as fine-tuning their skills to try to make this season the best one yet for Wake Forest.

Below is a projection for what Wake’s offensive depth chart will look like come first snap against Old Dominion. In regards to the classifications, just know this is as they’re listed on the Wake Forest website.

QUARTERBACK

Starter: RS So. Sam Hartman

Back-up: RS Fr. Michael Kern OR Fr. Mitch Griffis

Depth: Fr. Santino Marucci, Fr. Billy Edwards Jr.

Thoughts: Nothing new here, captain Sam Hartman, barring injury will be at the helm for Wake. It’s going to be interesting now with outsiders(the media) being allowed at fall camp this year, to see just how close, if at all Kern and/or Griffis are to Hartman. The backup QB spot will be a fight from what I’m hearing, while Marucci and Edwards will continue to adjust and learn.

RUNNING BACK

Starters: RS Jr. Christian Beal- Smith, RS So. Christian Turner

Backup: Fr. Justice Ellison

Depth: Fr. Quinton Cooley, Fr. Ahmani Marshall, Fr. Will Towns

Thoughts: CBS will be the lead back, but what comes after him is a bit of a mystery box, but one that seems to be fruitful. While technically there’s only 1 starter ever listed, we know how much Clawson and Ruggiero love splitting carries evenly between the top two backs. Turner, one of the transfers from Michigan, was continually lauded throughout spring camp by both players and coaches. I’m placing my bet that he will separate from the pack and establish himself as the second back in this offense. Ellison seems to be next man up given how well he ran at the end of 2020. Cooley and Marshall are working their way back from injuries last year, but also registered strong springs. Will Towns arrived during summer session 2, so will he be able to catch up to the rest of the pack to make an impact on scout team/blowouts?

Tight End

Starter: RS Sr. Brandon Chapman

Backup: RS So. Blake Whiteheart

Depth: RS Fr. Cameron Hite, Fr. Gavin Ellis, Fr. Michael Frogge, Fr. Trey Boll

Thoughts: Chapman going into his final collegiate year will be getting the start, but he is going to have to become more of a threat in the passing game if he wants to hold off Blake Whiteheart who is entering his 4th year in the program. If it seems like there’s a logjam in the room, well there is as the team really only uses 1 tight end at a time, while having 6 on the roster. It’ll be interesting to see if a guy like Cameron Hite can pick up the Connor Hebbeler role in the Heavy Deac formation, or if Frogge or Boll can progress enough to be used in the passing game.

Wide Receiver

Starters: RS Jr. Jaquarii Roberson(Slot), Gr. Donald Stewart(X), RS Fr. Taylor Morin OR RS So. A.T. Perry(Z)

Backups: Fr. Ke’Shawn Williams(Slot), Fr. Jahmal Banks(X)

Depth: Fr. Horatio Fields, Fr. Dez Williams, walk-on Fr. Jackson Hensley

Thoughts: The loss of Donavon Greene does show its head here given that an injury to any of the 4 outside guys. With that being said, there is still a considerable amount of upside here. I don’t need to say much about Roberson and just leave it at this: if you’re pondering the move of him to the outside, Wake’s playbook has a considerable amount of calls that have Roberson ending up down the sideline even when lining up from the slot.

The X receiver, where Greene would’ve played, will look to be manned by grad transfer Donald Stewart. Stewart had a great game against NC State, but injuries prevented us from seeing what the rest of the year would’ve looked like for him. After a spring where he may have been the most improved player, he will be called upon to man one of the outside spots. Ke’Shawn Williams really controls the fate of the rest of the spots. If he stays healthy and can show he’s an ACC-Level player(which chatter out of spring suggested he’s that and then some), it gives Ruggiero the flexibility to kick Taylor Morin out wide, where he was for the bowl game.

I have Morin out wide battling A.T Perry for the starting pot and would not be surprised if these snaps were truly 50-50. Morin is a clinical route runner with good speed so as a flanker, he can easily pose a threat as someone running up the sideline or a route that helps disguise what the slot is doing and work the middle. Perry on the other hand gives you a better threat in the intermediate and deep balls. A.T. is a glider that has a knack for finding himself behind the defense more often than not, so it seems to be a matter of who just has the better and more consistent fall camp. Backing up Stewart will be Jahmal Banks, who as well had a breakout spring. Can a freshman like Horatio Fields or Dez Williams come in and pick up the playbook quickly and make an impact?

Offensive Line

Starters: RS Jr. Zach Tom(LT), RS Jr. Sean Maginn OR RS Jr. Loic Ngassam Nya(LG), RS So. Michael Jurgens(C), Gr. Terrance Davis(RG), RS Fr. DeVonte Gordon(RT)

Backups: RS Fr. CJ Elmonus(LT), Fr. Luke Petitbon(C), Fr. George Sell(RG), Fr. Zach Vaughan(RT)

Depth: Fr. Matt Gulbin, RS Jr. Spencer Clapp, Fr. Nick Sharpe, Fr. Jaydon Collins, Fr. Christian Forbes

Thoughts: The loss of Je’Vionte Nash sucks, there’s no getting around that. OL is the one place however, that the listed age is quite deceptive. Tom, Maginn, and Nya are all in their fifth years, Davis is a super senior, Gordon and Elmonus are in their third, while the quartet of Sell, Petitbon, Vaughan, and Forbes are in their second year of the program. So no, I’m not going to project Wake having 3 true freshmen on the 2 deep.

Left Tackle, Center, and Right Guard seem very set in stone(granted Terrance Davis is healthy). The rest, I’ll be honest, is going to be a guessing game and one big puzzle throughout fall camp. We could very easily see Loic man the LG spot and Maginn slide out to Right Tackle. While I’d argue from a depth perspective, you’d be making yourself razor thin at guard, if that’s the best combination of 5 then so be it.

I think guys like Petitbon and Sell are ready to step into the two-deep. Petitbon was a notable guy during practices for the Under Armour All American game and hasn’t had to completely reshape his body like a lot of younger linemen do coming into school. Sell seemed close to cracking the 2 deep last year as well, but with a full spring, summer, and soon fall, I believe in these two to crack the depth chart.

The inclusion of Vaughan is one of a guess, not a hunch. If Maginn doesn’t slide out to RT, there needs to be someone backing up that starter and I think Vaughan will see an opportunity. He’s put on 32 pounds since last year, now standing at 6-6 and 302 pounds. I don’t think that was by accident. Tabacca is a big fan of guys that could play many positions across the line and with that build Vaughan can easily fill in at a guard or tackle spot. I’m also going to keep my eye on Christian Forbes after there was some chatter about him post spring.