Changes continue to swirl around the Wake Forest football program as Signing Day looms. The Deacons have lost a recruit and another assistant coach, added a recruit and convinced another team’s pledge to decommit.
On the negative side, Dave Clawson lost assistant coach Derrick Jackson to Purdue and quarterback recruit Taylor Powell to Missouri. The Deacons got a commitment from offensive lineman Sean Maginn, and cornerback Raheem Layne decommitted from Minnesota after his visit to Winston-Salem last weekend.
Jackson’s departure closes a door to the Jim Grobe era as Jackson was the only remaining position coach who worked under Grobe at Wake Forest. (Warren Belin, the director of high school relations for Clawson, coached for one year under Grobe.) Jackson coached outside linebackers and defensive backs during his time at WFU.
New defensive coordinator Jay Sawvel will get a chance to fill at least one defensive spot with his own hire. That will most likely be a linebackers coach.
Powell’s flip to Missouri hurts because he was one of the Deacons’ top-rated recruits in the 2017 class. However, the parting of ways makes sense both for Powell and the Deacons in the long run. Powell is ranked as the No. 32 pro-style passer in 247Sports’ composite rankings, and he was the Gatorade Player of the Year in Arkansas after leading his team to a state title while throwing for 3,473 yards and 44 touchdowns.
The move will allow Powell to play much closer to his Arkansas home and to join a team with a less congested quarterback situation. The Tigers have three quarterbacks on the roster.
The Deacons enter the spring with John Wolford as a senior, Kendall Hinton a sophomore (assuming he gets a medical redshirt), Kyle Kearns a sophomore and Jamie Newman a redshirt freshman. They already have two 2018 commitments: grayshirt Tayvon Bowers and Sam Hartman, the No. 21 pro-style quarterback in 247Sports’ composite rankings.
It’s unlikely the Deacons will target a quarterback with one of their few remaining scholarships for 2017.
Wake Forest added another under-the-radar offensive line recruit in Maginn. The Deacons flipped Maginn (Suwanee, Ga.) from Arkansas State. The 6-4, 270-pounder also had offers from Air Force, Appalachian State and a variety of smaller schools. He’s the team’s fourth O-line commitment.
Layne is a player the Deacons have been trying to flip. They’re halfway there after getting him to decommit after he visited Wake Forest last weekend. Since the coaching change at Minnesota, a number of schools have gone hard after Layne.
Layne, who is from Sebastian, Fla., also has visited Indiana, and he has offers from Iowa, Virginia Tech, Vanderbilt, Purdue and others. The Deacons would seem to have an inside track since Sawvel was involved with Layne’s recruitment at Minnesota before moving to Wake Forest.
The Deacons are still awaiting word from receiver Waydale Jones and offensive lineman Demetris Harris. Harris originally committed to Georgia Tech before reopening his recruitment.
Wake Forest has roughly three scholarships left to use on the 2017 class.