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2024 Demon Deacons: Fighting Purgatory

Demon Deacons
© Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

After a 2023 campaign that left a lot to be desired the 2024 Wake Forest Demon Deacons look to pull themselves out of football purgatory. Despite a 3-0 start to the season, Wake Forest quickly found themselves scrapping to avoid the dreaded basement of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Conference play afforded the scrappy squad a lone win vs Pitt and three one-score losses vs Syracuse, Duke, and Clemson. The off-season has been full of twists and turns but ultimately the Demon Deacons are positioning well to pull themselves out of the mire with great additions to both sides of the ball.

Wake Forest Quarter Back Throws Pass
© Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Demon Deacons: Stabilizing the offense

Wake Forest’s offense adds firepower to both the running and passing game after ending last season ranked 88th and 102nd respectively. Leading the charge out of football purgatory is 6-foot-7-inch offensive lineman Jack Hines (Avon Old Farms School) from Connecticut. A strong prospect with great feet and that little bit of nasty every coach and fan wants from a great offensive lineman. Hines as an addition will surely stabilize the offense, most importantly, the offensive line.

If stellar offensive line play is not enough stability, then after Hines and company clear a path, opposing linebackers and secondaries will have another Demon Deacon to deal with. One who is a relentless runner and hits the hole like, well, a demon might. Ty Clark III (Franklin Road Academy) out of Tennessee is committed to the end zone and to making an immediate impact in the run game. The 6-foot and 205-pound running back flashes signs of a young Adrian Peterson, not only in vision but also in running style.

Stabilizing the offense is a top priority at every level and a wide receiver like Jeremiah Melvin (Cape Fear High School) out of Fayetteville, NC is the answer to any red zone woes the Demon Deacons may encounter. The 6-foot-5-inch wide receiver uses size well and stretches every secondary because single coverage is a low-reward proposition for defenses when Melvin is the risk. An outstanding downfield threat the wide receiver will only become more dangerous with every rep.

Wake Forest Defender Makes Tackle
© Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Demon Deacons: Stacking the defense

The defense is looking to add interior power and committing to stifling the run game in 2024. Last season saw the defense struggle in the red zone, allowing opponents to score more than 70% of the time. Add the 6-foot-2-inch edge rusher, Camden Hardy (Atlantic Coast High School) out of Florida. The fiery athlete has a great first step and enough speed to handle most flaring running backs if needed. The Demon Deacons will likely redshirt the 210-pound phenom to add some weight and strength, but in due time the impact of Hardy will be felt.

Stacking the defense is a process and the Demon Deacons recruiting staff is sticking with the defensive line improvement. Securing one edge and leaving the other exposed is a recipe for disaster, fortunately, the Demon Deacons have found immediate value thanks to the transfer portal. Georgetown transfer Mateen Ibirogba will be instrumental as the defense grows into a formidable ACC foe for every opponent. The 6-foot-4-inch and 250-pound Maryland native not only adds experience to the defense but also has a tenacious pass rush with active hands.

Exorcising the Demons

One thing is for sure, exorcising these Demon Deacons is going to be an uphill battle in 2024. Fighting tooth and nail on and off the field, the 2024 Wake Forest Demon Deacons are focused on changing the outcomes of the 2023 football season. The additions to this team are expected to be the change the Demon Deacons need to find success in the ACC. Fighting through the purgatory of program mediocrity in college football is an ongoing battle across the college football landscape. The Demon Deacons are equipped well for the fight and if there is one thing to avoid during a fight, it would be demon.

1 Comment

Great article Ryan Johnson. It was well written and informative. It was a detailed look into what it will take to pull the Demon Deacons out of football purgatory. Excellent work!

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