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Four Downs - Wake Football mid-season MVPs

Four Downs takes a look at the most valuable players so far this season for the Demon Deacs.

The Deacs are sitting at 5-2 on the cusp of being bowl eligible for the first time since 2011.

Big plays and big wins have punctuated this season, including road victories over Duke and Indiana.

Four Downs looks at the MVPs so far for the Deacs slightly past the midpoint of this season. (alphabetical order)

Jessie Bates - Safety

Bates showed flashes during his special teams work as a freshman, but really started to impress during spring camp. A great fall camp solidified his starting role across the field from senior Ryan Janvion.

Bates leads the Deacs through seven games with 53 tackles, as he truly flies all over the field on defense. He has three interceptions, all in the Wake 33-28 upset win at Indiana, including a 55-yard pick-six that proved crucial.

Duke Ejiofor - Defensive End

Ejiofor has been disruptive on defensive. His penetration and quarterback pressure is the straw that stirs the drink of Mike Elko’s defense.

He leads the team with 7.5 sacks on the season and 11.5 TFLs. He’s eighth in the nation in sacks and seventh in tackles for loss.

Marquel Lee - Linebacker

Career highs on 15 tackles and 5.5 TFLs paced the Deacs in a 28-9 home win over Syracuse.

The senior linebacker is tied with Ejiofor with 11.5 TFLs and has five sacks of his own. He is second on the team with 52 tackles, and has forced three fumbles.

Mike Weaver - Kicker

Weaver was THE hero of the Army game last season, hitting a last-second 47-yard field goal for the win and is the unsung hero of this season so far for the Deacs.

He’s a perfect 16-for-16 on extra points, is 9-for-11 on field goals and has done a great job on kickoff duties. Eighteen of his 35 kickoffs has resulted in touchbacks.

Weaver even filled in for Dom Maggio on punting duties for two games, delivering an average of 41.2 yards per punt in his 10 attempts, including three downed inside the 20-yard line.

Others under consideration

Entire offensive line

John Wolford

Cortez Lewis

Brad Watson


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