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Signing Day Central: Wake Forest

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Head Coach: Dave Clawson

Total number of commitments: 22

Faced with one of the toughest recruiting jobs in the country, Dave Clawson’s impact has been noticeable over his three seasons, despite not having on-field success to sell. Clawson and his staff have chased higher-ranked prospects, landing a few and moving the Deacons up about 10 spots in the yearly rankings compared to the Jim Grobe era. This year’s class has a nice top end in defensive tackle Sulaiman Kamara, offensive tackle Taleni Suhren and quarterback Jamie Newman — three regional prospects who are among the top-rated players ever to commit to Wake Forest.

Clawson continued to de-emphasize Florida, a Grobe stronghold, while enhancing Wake’s presence in the surrounding states (14 signees from Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia and South Carolina). Virginia was new territory, jumping from two signees total in his first two classes to five this year. For the second straight season, Clawson landed two of the North Carolina’s top 30 prospects, something that Grobe was no longer able to do in his last few classes.

The Deacons addressed consistent needs on both lines and continued to add defensive backs and tight ends — two spots where they lack depth. The biggest hole appears to be at linebacker, where the Deacons only signed one player. However, just like last year with last-minute commitments from Matt Colburn (former Louisville commit) and Rocky Reid (former Tennessee pledge), the staff continued its trend of making a late addition at running back by luring in Arkeem Byrd on signing day. As usual, the final rating of the class will depend on how well the staff identified players in the second half of the class, where they’re taking more chances compared to most ACC programs.

One mystery continues to be how Clawson will fit all of these players on the roster. At 2w signees, we believe he’s still three scholarships over the limit, even after a number of fifth-year seniors and others left the program.