Although North Carolina and Wake Forest are charter members of the ACC and inhabit the same state, they have rarely had a fierce competition for a prospect on the recruiting trail. It’s not that the two schools don’t recruit from the same talent pool, because they do – it’s that usually a UNC offer erases the chance Wake Forest has with the prospect.
Still, though, both rosters include players who could have just as easily been standing on the opposite sideline on Saturday night.
Class of ’15, Boca Raton (Fla.) St. Andrews, 3-star, No. 53
Since he’s red-shirting, it’s unlikely Bargas sees the field on Saturday. But, his recruiting story epitomizes a UNC-Wake Forest “battle.”
After over half a year on the Demon Deacons’ commitment list, Bargas switched his commitment to the Tar Heels following a January official visit to Chapel Hill. UNC restarted its pursuit of Bargas once the Chris Clark soap opera finally ended.
Class of ’12, Gaffney (S.C.), 3-star, No. 55 WR
Following official visits to UNC, Tennessee, and Wake Forest, Davis selected the Tar Heels on Signing Day. His addition capped Larry Fedora’s first recruiting class at UNC.
The 2012 Freshman All-American Honorable Mention and 2013 All-ACC Honorable Mention became UNC’s career touchdown reception leader earlier this season. His 168 career catches ranks third in Tar Heel history, while his 2,207 career receiving yards ranks fourth.
Class of ’14, Charlotte (N.C.) Providence, 3-star, No. 189 WR
Being a legacy, Proehl camped at Wake Forest nearly every summer and the Demon Deacons gave him his first scholarship offer. But after earning a Virginia Tech offer at camp prior to his senior season, the Hokies became the team to beat. Just as he was about to commit to Virginia Tech over Wake Forest, UNC swooped in with an offer and Proehl immediately accepted.
As a true freshman, Proehl caught at least one pass in all 12 games he appeared in. In total, he made 15 grabs for 106 yards. This season, he has caught four passes for 39 yards, including his first career touchdown.
Class of ’11, Waxhaw (N.C.) Marvin Ridge, 3-star, No. 117 WR
On Wake Forest’s entire roster, the only player to have possessed a UNC scholarship offer during his recruitment is Brent. However, he didn’t select the Demon Deacons over the Tar Heels. He originally committed to – and spent four years playing for – South Carolina over co-leader UNC. After the 2014 season, he transferred to Wake Forest and was immediately eligible to play since he had graduated from USC.
Brent has started five games at wide receiver for Wake Forest. On the season, he has caught 25 balls for 342 yards and a touchdown. During his South Carolina career, he had 14 receptions for 152 yards and a touchdown.
Class of ’15, Durham (N.C.) Southern, 3-star, No. 72 QB
Hinton chose Wake Forest over scholarship offers from Duke and NC State. There was mutual interest with UNC – including countless visits to Chapel Hill – but that door closed when Anthony Ratliff-Williams committed to the Tar Heels.
Although a true freshman, Hinton is amid a quarterback competition with sophomore John Wolford. Despite playing in just four games (including two starts), Hinton leads Wake Forest in rushing (218 yards and four touchdowns on 54 attempts). He’s also tops in passing yards per game (171.0) and has completed 54.7-percent of his passes.
Class of ’14, Charlotte (N.C.) Independence, 3-star, No. 102 RB
Prior to committing to Wake Forest, Robinson collected scholarship offers from East Carolina, Louisville, and Ohio. But, UNC was an offer he coveted.
During his true freshman season, Robinson saw action in all 12 games. He finished that year second on the team in rushing with 174 yards on 99 carries. His ironman streak continued into the 2015 season as Robinson has appeared in all six games, including a pair of starts, with 97 yards on 27 rushes.
Wake Forest has found more success against UNC within the 2016 class. Demon Deacon verbal commitments Cade Carney, Taleni Suhren, Emmanuel Walker, and Zander Zimmer each were offered by UNC. However, UNC pledges Korey Banks, Jordon Brown, and Nolan DeFranco listed Wake Forest among their favorites before committing to the Tar Heels.