Deacs Add 22 Prep Standouts

Twenty-two prep standouts have signed to play football at Wake Forest, head coach Jim Grobe announced on Wednesday.

The class of 22 included a heavy emphasis on offense, with 16 of the signees coming from that side of the ball.

Grobe and his staff, led by recruiting coordinator Ray McCartney, have addressed needs all over the field, signing seven offensive linemen, three defensive linemen, two quarterbacks, two running backs, two wide receivers, two tight ends, two cornerbacks, a linebacker and a fullback.

"Last year was primarily a defensive class and we balanced that out this time with a strong offensive group," Grobe said. "I like the defensive players we are taking to fill specific needs and I am very excited with our overall class. Many of these guys will have a chance to play in a hurry. This may be our most talented group to date and is a very strong class academically."

The group represents seven different states, headlined by six North Carolina natives. The in-state signees are offensive lineman Chris DeGeare (Kernersville), running back L.J. Flintall (Burlington), cornerback Brandon Ghee (Fayetteville), the younger brother of Deacon safety Patrick Ghee, linebacker Dominique Midgett (Greensboro), tight end Ted Randolph (Mocksville) and fullback Mike Rinfrette (Bunn). DeGeare, Ghee, Midgett and Rinfrette were all ranked among the state's top 25 players.

The Deacons also signed five players out of Florida, including a trio of players from the Jacksonville area. Jeff Griffin, an offensive lineman, is the first player from Bartram Trail High School to play Division I football. Quarterback Riley Skinner and defensive lineman John Russell led the Bolles School to a 3A State Championship.

The two additional Florida commitments came from running back Kevin Harris, an exceptional athlete who played for his father Mick at Seminole High School, and quarterback Brett Hodges, a two-sport star at Winter Springs High School. The two starred in the same backfield as juniors at Winter Springs.

Wake Forest signed four individuals from Georgia, two of which were highly-rated offensive linemen. Gage Crews, a native of Bainbridge, and Barrett McMillin, from Lawrenceville, will help strengthen the offensive front. Defensive lineman Michael Lockett joins the Deacons from Sandy Creek High School in Fairburn, the same high school that produced rising junior Riley Swanson. Tight end Ben Wooster comes from Greater Atlanta Christian, the same school that produced rising sophomore Micah Andrews.

The Deacons have added three players from Tennessee. Joseph Birdsong was rated as one of the top offensive linemen in the state while playing at Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville for former NFL quarterback Jeff Rutledge. Wake Forest also signed Casey Hill, a wide receiver from Evangelical Christian School in Memphis and Jonathan Jones, a 6-foot-4 wide receiver from Madisonville.

Wake Forest signed a pair of prep standouts from South Carolina. Trey Bailey was part of two state championship teams at Byrnes High School and was rated as one of the top 25 players in South Carolina. Channing Schofield, a defensive back from Wagener-Salley High School, was a standout two-way performer.

The Deacons have added the top offensive lineman in Nebraska. Tyler "Boomer" Peterson was initially discovered at Lincoln Southeast High School by the Wake Forest track and field staff, and the football staff later followed with a scholarship offer.

The class is rounded out by Shaunteryous "Boo" Robinson, a 6-foot-2, 295-pound All-State defensive lineman from Monroe, La., who also made the Academic All-State team.

These 22 signees will join 51 returning lettermen, including 18 starters, from a team that finished 4-7 last year. The 2005 season begins for Wake Forest on Thursday, September 1 against Vanderbilt at Groves Stadium.

Signees By Position:
Offensive line (6): Bailey, Birdsong, Crews, DeGeare, McMillin, Peterson; Defensive Line (3): Lockett, Robinson, Russell; Quarterback (2): Hodges, Skinner; Running Back (2): Flintall, Harris; Cornerback (2): Ghee, Schofield; Wide Receiver (2): Jones, Hill; Tight End (2): Randolph, Wooster; Linebacker (1): Midgett; Fullback (1): Rinfrette.

Signess By State:
North Carolina (6): DeGeare, Flintall, Ghee, Midgett, Randolph, Rinfrette; Florida (5): Griffin, Harris, Hodges, Russell, Skinner; Georgia (4): Crews, Lockett, McMillin, Wooster; Tennessee (3): Birdsong, Hill, Jones; South Carolina (2): Bailey, Schofield; Louisiana (1): Robinson; Nebraska (1): Peterson

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