Wake unveils biggest recruiting class under Grobe
Wake Forest hopes bigger is better when it comes to signing recruits.
The Demon Deacons announced the largest recruiting class of coach Jim Grobe's tenure there on Wednesday.
The 25-player class covers 12 states and virtually every position on the field. Three of the players have already enrolled.
The 13th-year coach calls it "a big class for us" and it eclipses the 23-player group he signed in 2003.
Scout.com rates the class as the 10th-best in the 14-team Atlantic Coast Conference with 11 players receiving three stars and none receiving four or five.
Among the biggest needs were offensive line and linebacker. The Demon Deacons' line was ravaged by injuries last season, a major reason why Wake Forest's offense ranked last in the ACC in scoring offense and 11th in both total offense and rushing offense and why the team finished 5-7 — its fourth straight losing record.
Grobe built the program on a foundation of patience and redshirting nearly every freshman that stepped foot on campus, but he admitted that he and his staff may have gone too far in that direction last year. He said a handful of players who could have helped the Demon Deacons in 2012 never saw the field, and sounded like that won't happen this year.
"One of the problems I think we got into was, we were probably a little too cautious last year," he said. "We got halfway through the season and weren't going to waste a year of eligibility. We'll be a little more aggressive with these guys. ... I worry about the big guys playing right away, but we're going to look at them pretty hard."
Among the highest-rated recruits were two players from Alpharetta, Ga. — center Cory Helms and offensive tackle Josh Harris — and 300-pound tackle Taylor Chambers of Columbia, S.C.
Wake Forest is also looking for some help at linebacker, and two of the seven linebackers Grobe signed enrolled in January: Marquell Lee of Pomfret, Md., and Ford Howell of Memphis, Tenn.
The Demon Deacons also signed some players with notable ties. Nose guard James Looney is the younger brother of Joe Looney, a former all-ACC guard at Wake Forest. Quarterback Michael Radford's father played for Grobe in the 1970s and '80s when he was on Marshall's staff. And Harris is the third player named Josh Harris on the roster, joining the starting tailback and a walk-on defensive back.
Football signees announced Wednesday by Wake Forest, with name, position, height, weight, school and hometown:
John Armstrong, rb, 5-9, 165, Olympia HS, Orlando, Fla.
Taylor Chambers, ol, 6-8, 300, Irmo HS, Columbia, S.C.
Deonte Davis, cb, 5-10, 170, South Gwinnett HS, Snellville, Ga.
Wendell Dunn, olb, 6-3, 210, Palmetto HS, Miami
Duke Ejiofor, olb, 6-4, 220, Alief Taylor HS, Houston
Cameron Gardner, ol, 6-5, 275, Southern Nash HS, Bailey, N.C.
Josh Harris, ol, 6-4, 290, Milton (Ga.) HS
Tyree Harris, wr, 6-2, 180, Marietta (Ga.) HS
Andrew Hauser, de, 6-3, 265, Charter Oak HS, Covina, Calif.
Cory Helms, c, 6-4, 290, Milton HS, Alpharetta, Ga.
Ford Howell, ilb, 6-1, 225, University School, Memphis, Tenn.
Ali Lamot, olb, 6-2, 200, Eastern Alamance HS, Mebane, N.C.
Jalen Latter, cb, 6-0, 185, Vance HS, Charlotte, N.C.
Marquel Lee, ilb, 6-3, 220, Westlake HS, Pomfret, Md.
James Looney, dl, 6-3, 275, Lake Worth (Fla.) HS
Josh Okonye, cb, 6-0, 185, George Ranch HS, Sugar Land, Texas
Brendan O'Neil, te, 6-4, 220, Buckingham Browne and Nichols HS, Burlington, Mass.
Michael Radford, qb, 6-3, 195, Country Day HS, Charlotte, N.C.
Cameron Serigne, te, 6-3, 215, Briar Woods HS, Ashburn, Va.
Michael Stevenson, s, 6-0, 175, Central Catholic HS, Clearwater, Fla.
Julian Thomas-Jackson, olb, 6-4, 210, Dothan (Ala.) HS
Lance Virgile, olb, 6-2, 220, St. Thomas HS, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Brad Watson, cb, 6-0, 170, Westwood HS, Round Rock, Texas
Mike Weave, p-pk, 6-1, 180, Southside HS, Pine City, N.Y.
Dez Wortham, rb, 6-0, 205, Hebron HS, Frisco, Texas