NCF On The Trail: Bowman Archibald

The Wake Forest roster was in such bad shape when Dave Clawson became head coach there was no way he could fill all of its needs with just one recruiting class.

So Clawson got to work identifying how he would prioritize the positions he absolutely needed to fill. The emphasis last year was on offensive line. The emphasis this year was on offensive skill positions and cornerback. In totality, Clawson has put together two classes that hit everything he wanted.

But more than that, he elevated recruiting at Wake Forest to a new level. ESPN RecruitingNation slotted Wake Forest No. 42 in its final 2015 class rankings. That put the Deacs ninth in the ACC, a big improvement over their last-place ranking in 2014.

[+] EnlargeDave Clawson
John David Mercer/USA TODAY SportsDave Clawson has put together two consecutive solid recruiting classes, especially at the skill positions.
What makes this class stand out is the quality players Clawson signed. Two four-stars came aboard, matching the same total Wake Forest had between 2010 and 2013. (Clawson did sign a four-star prospect last year in Kameron Uter, but he decided to play baseball).

One of them, tight end Bowman Archibald, flipped from Miami and became the first ESPN 300 prospect to sign with Wake Forest. The other is quarterback Kyle Kearns, who flipped from SMU and arrives from California.

Those players might have the star ratings next to their names, but Wake Forest also signed several other highly sought after prospects, including dual-threat quarterback Kendall Hinton, receiver Steven Claude and running back Rocky Reid.

“We’ve had big numbers now two years in a row, so you feel with these two classes we set a foundation of what we’re going to build personnel wise,” Clawson said in a recent phone interview. “This is two big groups, and these are the groups we have to improve and work with to become competitive again in the ACC.”

Wake Forest ended up signing two quarterbacks, five receivers and two running backs, helping the Deacs not only build depth but competition. What happens at quarterback will be interesting to watch.

Wake Forest initially targeted Hinton as their top quarterback to sign, but also saw how deep and talented the quarterback group was in California. Wake Forest rarely crosses to the West Coast to recruit but made an exception to potentially fill a need. Offensive coordinator Warren Ruggiero scouted Kearns last spring and liked what he saw.

A series of events led the Deacs back to Kearns. After freshman John Wolford won the job last year, backup Tyler Cameron decided to transfer. Another scholarship quarterback, Kevin Sousa, graduates in May, leaving the Deacs with no depth at all at the position. They needed to sign another quarterback.

Once Kearns decommitted from SMU, Wake Forest reached out again to see whether he was interested. He took an official visit and committed on the spot. Hinton already is enrolled and will compete with Wolford during spring practice, though Wolford will take the first-team reps.

“We said the same thing to them we said to John the year before, ‘If you come here, we’ll let you compete for it,’” Clawson said. “That’s not a knock on John. I thought John played well at times last year and very courageously and we’re very excited about him. But it’s football. Every position’s competitive. If he’s going to be our starter, he’s got to get better and he’ll get pushed.”

It should come as no surprise that Wake Forest will have to play freshman skill players and cornerbacks this year, simply because the Deacs have so few upperclassmen at those spots. Clawson anticipates half pf his roster when fall camp opens will be freshmen.

So inexperience will be high. But there is no doubt Wake Forest is more talented now than it was when Clawson arrived.

“We got a lot of really good, solid football players,” Clawson said. “We clearly upgraded our roster. We clearly became more talented. Now the key at Wake Forest is retaining them and developing them.”

Midyear additions: Wake Forest

January, 16, 2015
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Four recruits have enrolled at Wake Forest, according to the program's official website, WakeForestSports.com:

Bowman Archibald, TE-Y
HT: 6-5 WT: 240
Positional Rank: No. 8 TE-Y
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (No. 269)

Tabari Hines, WR
HT: 5-8 WT: 155
Positional Rank: No. 108 WR
Stars: 3

Kendall Hinton, QB-DT
HT: 5-11 WT: 188
Positional Rank: No. 35 QB-DT
Stars: 3

Garrett Wilson, LS
HT: 6-4 WT: 210
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Weekend recruiting wrap: ACC 

September, 23, 2014
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What was expected to be a big weekend on the recruiting front in the ACC turned out to be exactly that, with Florida State and Wake Forest receiving huge recruiting news.

Scout's Take: TE Archibald to Wake Forest 

September, 22, 2014
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Wake Forest has grabbed a huge commitment on the trail from ESPN 300 tight end Bowman Archibald. Read on to see how Archibald, who originally picked Miami, can make an early impact for the Demon Deacons:


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ACC recruiting scorecard

May, 21, 2014
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Clemson has had a big week on the recruiting trail, as the Tigers picked up the nation's No. 2 tight end, Garrett Williams on Monday. With that, we figured now is as good of a time as any to compile an ACC recruiting scorecard.

Below you will find each ACC team, its number of commitments and its most recent recruiting news. There's obviously a ways to go between now and national signing day on Feb. 4, 2015, but here's a look at where everyone in the league currently stands.

(Note: ESPN has only ranked the top 15 recruiting classes for 2015.)

Boston College
Current commitments: 9
Spotlight: The highlight of the Eagles' class is No. 7 tight end-H Jakeb Burt, a 6-foot-5, 238-pound three-star prospect. BC’s other big commits include three-star, No. 35 cornerback Lukas Denis and three-star, No. 52 offensive tackle Anthony Palazzolo.
ESPN 300 commitments: 0

Clemson
Current commitments: 16
Spotlight: The Tigers' best recruit is five-star tackle Mitch Hyatt, the nation's No. 7 overall player and the highest-ranked offensive lineman to commit to the program in the 10 years ESPN has ranked players. Clemson has nine four-star commitments as well, with Williams and three other offensive linemen among them.
ESPN 300 commitments: 7
ESPN rank: 5

Duke
Current commitments: 3
Spotlight: The Blue Devils have just three commitments, but two of them are three-star players who are nationally ranked at their positions: No. 39 defensive tackle Brandon Boyce and No. 37 defensive end Zach Morris.
ESPN 300 commitments: 0

Florida State
Current commitments: 11
Spotlight: The Seminoles have hauled in No. 25 overall player Derwin James Jr., the nation's top safety. They also scored a major win by beating out in-state rivals Florida and Miami to get No. 5 cornerback Tyrek Cole. Florida State has six four-star players among its 11 commitments.
ESPN 300 commitments: 4
ESPN rank: 7

Georgia Tech
Current commitments: 3
Spotlight: No. 25 athlete Jaylend Ratliffe highlights this haul for the Yellow Jackets. The 6-1, 200-pound four-star is ranked as the No. 278 overall player in the nation, flashing tremendous athleticism as a left-handed quarterback at the prep level.
ESPN 300 commitments: 1

Louisville
Current commitments: 1
Spotlight: Bobby Petrino's only commit in his first class with the Cardinals is 6-foot, 205-pound safety T.J. Jallow.
ESPN 300 commitments: 0

Miami
Current commitments: 11
Spotlight: No. 5 running back Dexter Williams has been the biggest get for the Hurricanes, as they stole him out of Gator Country. Miami also boasts No. 5 tight end-Y Bowman Archibald and No. 4 dual-threat quarterback Dwayne Lawson, two of seven four-star commitments for the program so far.
ESPN 300 commitments: 5
ESPN rank: 11

North Carolina
Current commitments: 9
Spotlight: The Tar Heels have landed the nation’s No. 3 tight end-H in ESPN 300 prospect Carl Tucker, a four-star recruit and the nation's No. 260 overall player. They have landed two other four-star prospects: No. 31 offensive tackle Mason Veal and No. 22 safety Ronnie Harrison.
ESPN 300 commitments: 1

NC State
Current commitments: 4
Spotlight: Three of the Wolfpack's four commitments have come from within the state, with the lone exception being wide receiver Freddie Phillips.
ESPN 300 commitments: 0

Pitt
Current commitments: 3
Spotlight: The Panthers have just three commitments for this class, but two of them are three-star players who are nationally ranked at their positions: No. 27 outside linebacker Kevin Givens and No. 42 offensive guard Alex Paulina.
ESPN 300 commitments: 0

Syracuse
Current commitments: 7
Spotlight: The Orange's run game should look pretty good down the road: Five of their seven current commitments are either offensive linemen or running backs, with the top three prospects coming on the offensive line, and two of them currently prep teammates: tackle Colin Byrne and guard Samuel Clausman.
ESPN 300 commitments: 0

Virginia
Current commitments: 3
Spotlight: The Cavaliers' 2015 recruiting class doesn't quite stack up to its 2014 haul as of now, but among their three prospects are nationally ranked, three-star players: No. 22 pocket-passing quarterback Nick Johns and No. 28 safety Juan Thornhill.
ESPN 300 commitments: 0

Virginia Tech
Current commitments: 4
Spotlight: The Hokies' class is also short on numbers but features three nationally ranked, three-star prospects: No. 39 athlete Mook Reynolds, No. 29 cornerback DuWayne Johnson and No. 37 defensive tackle Harry Lewis.
ESPN 300 commitments: 0

Wake Forest
Current commitments: 2
Spotlight: Dave Clawson's first full class currently has two players: defensive end Paris Black and offensive tackle T.J. Haney.
ESPN 300 commitments: 0

Weekly commitment roundup

March, 21, 2014
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ACC

Boston College
Lukas Denis, ATH
HT: 6-0 WT: 175
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation pending

Chris Lindstrom, OG
HT: 6-4 WT: 250
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation pending

Miami
Bowman Archibald, TE-Y
HT: 6-5 WT: 240
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation pending

North Carolina
Corey Bell Jr., CB
HT: 5-10 WT: 168
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: 3

Chris Clark, TE-Y
HT: 6-6 WT: 247
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: 3

Big 12

Texas
DeShon Elliott, S
HT: 6-2 WT: 205
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation pending

Big Ten

Penn State
Juwan Johnson, ATH
HT: 6-5 WT: 195
Positional Rank: No. 19 ATH
Stars: 4
ESPN Junior 300: No. 214

Pac-12

Oregon State
Treshon Broughton, CB
HT: 6-0 WT: 180
Positional Rank: N/A (juco)
Stars: Evaluation pending

UCLA
Josh Rosen, QB-PP
HT: 6-4 WT: 200
Positional Rank: No. 1 QB-PP
Stars: 4
ESPN Junior 300: No. 16

SEC

Arkansas
Justin Cantrell, TE
HT: 6-3 WT: 245
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation pending

Auburn
Montavious Atkinson, OLB
HT: 6-2 WT: 205
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: 3

South Carolina
Michael Bowman, WR
HT: 6-0 WT: 195
Positional Rank: No. 19 WR
Stars: 4
ESPN Junior 300: No. 147

Tennessee
Stephen Griffin, S
HT: 6-2 WT: 185
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation pending

American

South Florida
Deundre Pickett-White, ATH
HT: 6-0 WT: 192
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: 3

Trevon Sands, RB
HT: 5-11 WT: 181
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: 3

Independents

BYU
Kimane Domena, QB-DT
HT: 6-1 WT: 188
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: 3

C-USA

Louisiana Tech
LaDante Davenport, DT
HT: 6-2 WT: 260

Brandon Durman, ILB
HT: 6-1 WT: 215

Aaron Roberson, CB
HT: 5-10 WT: 181

Trey Spencer, ATH
HT: 5-11 WT: 160

Dwaine Thomas, OLB
HT: 6-2 WT: 210

Rice
Ross Donelly, DT
HT: 6-2 WT: 300
Positional Rank: No. 21 DT
Stars: 4
ESPN Junior 300: No. 229

Hunter Herndon, ATH
HT: 6-4 WT: 236

Tulane
Devin Glenn, RB
HT: 5-8 WT: 142

UAB
Ryan Barbour, TE-Y
HT: 6-4 WT: 240

Jamarius Henderson, RB
HT: 5-11 WT: 205
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: 3

Mid-American

Central Michigan
Romello Ross, RB
HT: 5-10 WT: 175
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: 3

Western Michigan
Parker Underwood, TE-Y
HT: 6-4 WT: 235
LOS ANGELES -- A handful of big recruiting targets competed at the third annual 4th Quarter Sports 7v7 Shootout at Salesian High School on Sunday, but none were taller than ESPN 300 receiver Equanimeous St. Brown (Anaheim, Calif./Servite).

The 6-foot-4, 200-pound prospect has emerged as one of the top pass catchers on the West Coast, with length being one of his most appealing attributes. USC has signed smaller receivers in recent classes, but appears to be on a mission to add size in 2015.


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