4. College Football News Preview 2020: Wake Forest Demon Deacons Defense 3 Things To Know
– The defense will never be Alabama, but as long as it’s just okay at holding serve once in a while, it’ll be doing its job. There’s reason to expect more production with nine starters returning including the entire front six. Only two main guys are gone, but they were big ones.
Essang Bassey was a terrific all-star corner, and Justin Strnad was a special leader and tackler – but he missed half of last year. His absence allowed others to emerge, and now the 1-2 linebacking punch of junior Ryan Smenda and Ja’Cquez Williams should combine for over 150 tackles.
– Both starting corners are done, but Trey Rucker is a big tackling sophomore at one safety spot and the senior Ja’Sir Taylor got in just enough work to be ready for one of the corner gigs. As long as the pass rush is doing its job, and as long as the defensive backfield can be as good as the 2019 version at coming up with third down stops, the D will be okay.
– 6-5, 275-pound Carlos Basham turned into a massive factor with 11 sacks. He’s the leader of a line that not only gets all four starters back, but welcomes the return of former Old Dominion transfer to one of the tackle jobs. The 290-pounder was going to be a massive part of the rotation, but he missed last year with a torn Achilles. The tackle rotation might be the best year under head coach Dave Clawson.