Team: Wake Forest
2014 Record: 3-9
Returning starters: OG Dylan Intermann, OG Josh Harris, C A’lique Terry, QB John Wolford, WR Jared Crump, TE Cam Serigne, RB Dezmond Wortham, LB Brandon Chubb, S Ryan Janvion, LB Hunter Williams, DT Tylor Harris, DT Josh Banks, DE Wendell Dunn, LB Marquel Lee, P Alex Kinal, K Mike Weaver
Most important offensive player: QB John Wolford – Wolford certainly took his lumps as a true freshman quarterback last season. The hope is that all of that experience will help him, and the offense, take a big step forward. It all starts with Wolford and whether or not he can take care of the football.
Most important defensive player: LB Brandon Chubb – Chubb had a strong season in 2014, becoming a solid playmaker on the defensive side of the ball. If he can continue to do that this season it will help make up for some of their talented losses on defense.
Emerging offensive player: WR Cortez Lewis – The redshirt freshman has snagged a starting spot over junior Jonathan Williams. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound wideout gives Wolford a solid frame and an option to make up for the loss of Jared Crump, their top receiving threat, to a torn ACL.
Emerging defensive player: DT Zeek Rodney – The former Syracuse target has emerged as a starter as a redshirt freshman, jumping senior and returning starter Tylor Harris. Rodney’s athleticism and quick first step could make him a force for the ACC to deal with over the next few years.
How they matchup with Syracuse: This is a matchup of what the experts consider the two worst teams in the ACC. On paper, Syracuse should be favored in this matchup. Despite facing severe injuries and starting their fourth quarterback last season, the Orange won easily on the road. Syracuse has arguably more talent on offense, but the Demon Deacons return more starters on defense.
Season outlook: Wake Forest is still in rebuilding mode but hope to take that next step towards getting back to competitive football. A five win season or better would make a successful year. Another three win campaign without competitive improvement would be a step backwards.