Dave Clawson and the Wake Forest football coaching staff addressed potentially their biggest immediate positional need Monday with the commitment of Mississippi State cornerback grad transfer Cedric Jiles.
“Wake Forest just is just an excellent school academically, and the coaching staff just did a great job,” Jiles said. “I feel like they will help me get to where I need to be in life. I asked God to direct me where I need to go, and it happened to be Wake Forest.”
Jiles announced his commitment early Tuesday afternoon on Twitter.
Jiles was recently granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA after working through at least three separate injuries.
“I had a little setback, but I came back stronger. I’m used to that. I’m strong willed. I’m excited, man,” Jiles said. “I feel like I’ve matured and grown physically, mentally and spiritually from these experiences.”
He played 35 total games in his career at Mississippi State, grabbing 71 total tackles. He started in eight of the nine games he was available last season, nabbing 33 tackles and grabbing a pick-six in the rivalry game against Ole Miss.
Jiles will bring a ton of big-environment experience to a young Wake Forest secondary. He’s played against some of the best competition in the nation in the SEC, and earned a starting role last season. He can be the mentor needed to help better bring along young corners like Amari Henderson, Dionte Austin and Essang Bassey.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance here at Wake Forest,” Jiles said. “They don’t accept grad transfers very often. For them to take me is just a blessing, and I’m excited to be part of the family.”
Wake was so limited at corner in the spring, Clawson transitioned Malik Grate from wide receiver just to have enough guys to run all the drills.
“I met with coach (Jay) Sawvel, the defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach. I saw the environment. It felt like home,” Jiles said. “Everybody felt close knit. The classes are small and everybody works together — much like a family. I like it.”
Jiles said he hopes to be enrolled in the first Wake summer semester.
“The sooner the better,” he said.
He’s a big believer in what fourth-year head coach Dave Clawson is doing with the program.
“The program is on the upswing. He’s a great coach and has a lot of swagger,” Jiles said. “He has a lot of confidence. I’m looking forward to being there. It’s going to be a great year.”