2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 61 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
The 2017 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Wake Forest Demon Deacons
No. 61: Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Wake Forest Demon Deacons Prespring Status
It took a while for the Dave Clawson era to get going, but last year it showed what the program could do, breaking through in a great ACC to get to a bowl game and a winning season. Okay, so there wasn’t any offense, and okay, so the team lost five of its last six regular season games, and okay, Indiana was the best win until the bowl victory over Temple, but who cares? Wake Forest had a winning season, and the fans will happily take what could be a breakthrough year.
The best part for Clawson and the Demon Deacons is that this season was supposed to be when everything started to kick in. Ten starters return on offense – now the production has to come – and DE Duke Ejiofor is back leading a good-enough group on defense with six starters back. Does that mean it’s time for Clemson and Florida State to worry? No, but the team should be stronger. However …
Wake Forest Demon Deacons Biggest Issue
Those losses on defense are going to be an issue for a while. Getting Ejiofor back was a coup, but leading tackler Marquel Lee is gone, along with linebacker running mate Thomas Brown, and good-hitting safety Brad Watson. Four of the top six tacklers are gone, and while Ejiofor is the signature pass rushing star, the next three top sackers are gone from the aggressive D.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons Biggest Positive
The O might not have been anything great, but at least everyone of note returns – everyone. The ground game might have only finished with 1,895 yards and 17 scores, but everyone who gained a yard is back. Everyone who caught a pass who was supposed to – throw out the grab by guard Tyler Hayworth – returns, led by Tabair Hines and NFL-talent tight end Cam Serigne. QB John Wolford might not be dynamic, but he knows what he’s doing. Again, to harp on the point, Hayworth is the only lost offensive starter.
Really, Why Are The Wake Forest Demon Deacons Ranked Here?
Wake Forest should be just good enough and experienced enough to win the 50/50 games against teams its own size, and it should be able throw a scare into the better ones on the slate. There won’t be any sort of wacky run to the ACC title, but another bowl season is a must, and at least eight wins should be a decent goal. However, even with all the offensive experience, the Demon Deacons have to be a lot more dangerous.