Signing Day Press Conference Quotes

Wake's coaches talk about their 2006 signing class.

On focusing on depth and balance:
"I think this is the first year that we've been able to be balanced. I think with the team that we've got at Wake Forest, the older guys; we've got for the first time since I've been here pretty good depth and pretty good balance. Our recruiting focus was to not help us at any one position, but to make sure we try to help all the different positions."

On his overall assessment of the class:
"I think we did a really, really good job. The one position we left out was fullback. We have three pretty good fullbacks here and felt like we didn't need to take one of those guys. I like the balance in our class, and I think we hit a homerun with football players this year. Obviously, I'll tell you up front that we really like these kids. We recruit primarily kids that we want to coach, kids that have high motor and like to play the game, certainly kids that can get a degree from Wake Forest. I'm really blessed to have a coaching staff that likes to recruit, and our staff enjoys recruiting. Ray (McCartney) does a great job as our recruiting coordinator, but we've just gotten a little better every year. We've got a better understanding right now of what we need to win football games in the ACC. I think we've got a better understanding of what kids can be successful at Wake Forest academically. As much as anything, I think we've done a good job of getting to know high school football coaches - not only in the state of North Carolina, but most places where we've pulled kids out of, we've developed good relationships with the coaches. I'm pleased with this class, and I think it's typical of each class that we've had since we've been here that this is a little more talented class than the year before it. In numbers not big with only 15 kids, but a very good class."

On having one more scholarship:
"We've got one left, and we're going to hold that one for a while. We have somebody in mind right now. We have one kid that could not make up his mind and wants to get his parents more involved. We'll continue to keep a slot open right now, but we feel really good with this class right now. If we don't take anyone else, that's fine. If we can find somebody that we really wanted, that'd be good too, so we'll see."

On feeling any pressure of signing only 15 players:
"We don't sign over the limit. That's one of the things that we've tried really hard not to get involved in. We're very cautious first of all of who we offer. We don't give many offers. We only offer a kid if we're really serious and feel like we'd love to have him commit to us. We're a little slow to offer. We like the players that we have at Wake Forest right now. Sometimes if you've recruited a lot of players that you aren't happy with, 25 is not enough. For us, we feel like if we can get to where we're always in the neighborhood of 15-20 scholarships and we're able to keep those guys for a full five years that is how we can build a program. This is more along the lines of where we want to be as a program. We took 21 kids last year, maybe 22, and that was too many. Somewhere around 18 would be about where we'd want to settle. I don't think we have any pressure on only signing 15. I think we feel like we're getting closer to where we want to be."

On which recruits, other than punter Dan Caldwell, will have a chance to make an impact next season: "Someone else asked me this earlier today, and that punter better be able to come in and play. (laughs) That's the guy we're hoping can play right away. I would say our philosophy really is we don't mind playing a true freshman; we just don't want to waste one. We don't want him to cover three kickoffs and waste a year of eligibility. Typically the guys we're looking to play are guys like Dan Caldwell, who's a punter. Ryan Plackemeier punted as a true freshman, and it didn't work out too bad for him. Chris Barclay played as a true freshman and turned out to be a pretty good player for us. That's the kind of contribution we want a freshman to make. Typically when you look at freshmen playing, you are looking at skill guys. I think it would be awfully hard for one of those offensive linemen to come in and play right away. Although, I think both of them are really, really good. I think you're pretty much looking at the skill guys - running backs, Marcus Williams at receiver is a guy. I think we have a really good free safety in Alex Frye, but with Pat Ghee and Josh Gattis back there, I'd hate to use him next year. We'd like to have him get a year under his belt before he steps up. I don't know if I'd point anybody out. Everybody talks about Josh Adams, and we know he's a really good player. Lucas Caparelli was a big time recruit. He was a very heavily recruited kid. At running back, we typically can't get by with one and those guys tend to get dinged. That's why we brought a couple running backs in. Marcus Williams, who is listed at running back, really is an option quarterback, running back, wide receiver and an athlete kind of kid. It wouldn't surprise me if one of the skill guys made it on the field." On Zach MacDowall already being on campus: "More importantly, it helps him down the road. Now he gets a spring and a season under his belt if we get to redshirt him. It certainly gives him a chance to be competitive right away. This spring, one of the things that we're going to do and not just at the quarterback position, we're going to be very slow in installation. We're going to make things so easy that the first part of spring, anybody can pick it up mentally. That's basically so our young guys can compete with our old guys. I don't want our old guys earning a job because he knows more. I want a guy to earn it because he's physically capable of doing it. That's what would give a guy like Zach a chance to earn a spot this spring because we're not going to make it rocket science. We're going to find out who has the best ability on our football team."

On Dan Caldwell:
"If Dan walked in right now, you'd think Ryan Plackemeier just walked in. He's a little bigger and a little thicker than Plack. He's a good-sized kid. Billy Mitchell loves him. Mitch picked Plack and he picked Dave Zastudil who is punting for the Ravens and was with us at Ohio University. Mitch just has a knack for finding those guys. We looked at a lot of film, and of all the film we looked at, that was Mitch's favorite guy. We're expecting him to come in and be a bit like Plack was and give us a chance. He's very similar. He's a big guy, a left-footed punter, which is going to be fun. Zastudil was left-footed and when that balls starts spinning the wrong way, it's a little different catching it back there. When we had Z at Ohio, we got a lot of balls put on the ground because it being a left-footed guy, a little harder to field. He averaged as a junior and senior, around 43-44 yards per punt and has a long of 73 as a junior. Mitch had a chance to go watch him punt in a game. I think he's going to be a lot like Plack. He's got to be able to go out and do it on Saturday like Plack, but I think he's got a big time leg and a lot of potential."

On Josh Adams:
"He can play. He can flat play. I had somebody mention to me that they had seen him play and felt like he reminded them of Chris Barclay. I think he's got really good footspeed. He's a guy that's not just a perimeter guy; he's a good guy between the tackles. He can get the ball north, and he's carried it a lot. He's gotten a lot of totes, and he's a durable guy that we feel that even though he's 170 pounds, he has the potential to be a little bigger kid than Chris."

On the recruitment of Adams:
"We had him in camp, and Mitch had a chance to watch him in camp. That's where we got our first glimpse of him. He was recruited by Jeff Mullen, and I think he and Jeff developed a really good relationship. Of course he was recruited by a lot of schools. I think the thing Josh decided in the early part of his recruitment was that he wanted to be closer to home. I think he narrowed his thoughts down to North Carolina schools. That put us right in the thick of things. I think Jeff Mullen did a great job developing a personal relationship with the kid. I think he likes the size of our school, likes what we do offensively and it all came together. It was really a situation where we started in the summertime and stayed with him right on through the recruiting process."

On the competition at the running back position:
"Josh is a confident kid. Caparelli is the same way. I don't think Caparelli cared that we signed Josh Adams, and Josh Adams knew that we committed Lucas Caparelli. I don't think either of these two kids care who is already here. That is the nice thing about finding good players. The real good players don't mind the competition and not worried about it. We think we have some good running backs on campus. As much as we use the tailback in our offense we have room for a lot of kids back there."

On the recruitment of Dennis Godfrey:
"He committed a long time ago it seems. I think what happens sometimes with early commitments is that a kid makes an early commitment to you and then he starts thinking about it and he thinks that he hasn't looked at a lot of schools yet. He just basically asked us `do you mind if I visit other schools.' To be real honest with you, we want kids to come here with a smile on their face and want them feeling like this is the right place for them. We told Dennis that we'd be more than happy for him to visit other schools, but we sure hoped it didn't lead him to not come to Wake Forest. He did what he felt was best and used all four of his other visits. Thank goodness in the end he still felt like Wake Forest was best for him. Jeff Mullen was in on Josh Adams and on the big guy, so he's had some sleepless nights."

On Godfrey's size and how it fits at Wake Forest:
"He's a tight end for us. He's one that could see playing time. You know how much we like to use tight ends. We have guys in our program that are primarily blockers and guys that are primarily receivers, but he's probably the one guy that runs, catches and blocks like you'd like a tight end to be able to. Certainly the guys that are better receivers are getting stronger and can block better. I think Ted Randolph is physically a road grader but has really good hands. I think he's going to develop into a guy we can throw the football to. Dennis is probably the first guy coming out of high school that has the size, footspeed, the hands and athleticism to not only be a kid that could be a good blocker but could actually be a real go-to guy in throwing the football. He could see some early playing time."

On the two linebackers Hunter Haynes and Matt Woodlief
"The good thing about Hunter is he's a coach's son. His dad coaches the linebackers at Nease. He's got all those kinds of things you love about coaches' sons. He's got great work ethic, a high-motor guy. I think I saw where made something like 200 tackles last season. That's a ton of tackles for a linebacker. They won the state championship, and Hunter is a big boy and can run really well. He's a bigger, faster Brad White. That's a good way to look at it. I think we hit another homerun at the other linebacker spot with Matt Woodlief. Matt, over at Bandys High School, was a Shrine Bowl captain. He's had a great career at Bandys, started since the ninth grade. I saw a couple of plaques on his wall where he was voted defensive player of the game in the state championship game twice. I think that was pretty impressive, and I thought it was more impressive when I realized that was in his 9th and 10th grade. They didn't make it his junior or senior year, so as a 9th and 10th grader he was the defensive player of the game in the state championship game. We've got two linebackers that can flat play. We'll do everything we can to put them on the shelf for a year, but those two can really go. They're both high motor guys and real physical contact players. (Linebackers coach Brad) Lambert is going to have to give part of his paycheck back when he starts coaching all those players."

On the recruiting philosophy:
"Because we feel good about the players we have at Wake Forest, our thoughts going into this recruiting season were if we could only find 10 that we liked, we'd lock it up at 10. We're not bringing a kid in unless we really, really like him. I think what's happened is when we first got here, we didn't know our areas as we do now, and we probably had to project more and find the diamond in the rough more often. Now, we're not only in the mode of beating Division I-A teams for kids, but we're beating more kids that are offered by BCS conference schools. I think each year we've improved the level of kids of whose recruiting them. I think we're getting to the point now where a kid is not being recruited by a lot of good football schools, either one of two things has happened. Either we got in on him real early and closed them out early or we feel that he's a kid that's a slam dunk - we've gotten to know him so well by having him in camp or we've gotten to know him for a while, that could happen. But for the most part, we had to fight pretty hard for this group."

On recruiting players from winning high school programs:
"I think that what you would like to do in every case is bring in kids that are used to winning and used to playing in playoff games and playing for championships. They come in relying totally on their background. When you bring in kids from the high school level that have been successful, they expect to be successful. They're not looking at Wake Forest past; they're looking at the future. It is really good for us when we find a kid that is a good enough player, has the academics and comes from a really good high school program."

On working with high school coaches:
"When we go out and bump into the high school coaches, you would never know our record was 4-7. You'd think we won the Super Bowl. They watch us play, they like to watch our kids play and they tell their players they think that they'll have fun playing football for us. Coaches that come and have clinics with us and watch spring practice, and the kids have a chance to see us play on TV. A lot of the kids when you bump into them recruiting don't even realize that we were 4-7 last year. They saw us playing and were impressed at the way our kids flew around and played. We've overcome a lot over the five years. We've not only gotten to know the coaches better, but they've gotten to know us better and they feel good about having their kids play for us, which has helped a lot."

On recruiting in the state of North Carolina:
"It's huge for us. I don't know if anyone recruits the state like we do. We start in North Carolina, we cover it as well as we possibly can. When we can't fill our needs in North Carolina, that's when we start bleeding out into other states. Georgia has been really good for us. Florida has been really good for us, but our goal is to recruit North Carolina. We start every spring with North Carolina as our goal. and we signed six really, really good football players in-state. We would have taken more if we could get more. It's pretty competitive, not only from the four in-state ACC schools, but from schools outside the state and outside the conference. I am proud of the six that we took."

On Marshall Williams and getting more wide receiver help:
"Our thought was to take a wide receiver that we thought might be a difference maker. We would like a difference maker at that position and we feel like Marshall Williams can be. We've got a lot of numbers here at wide receiver. Unfortunately, other than Nate Morton, none of those guys have come out of the pack and stepped up. We wanted to another good kid that brought us something different. We would have taken one more if we found the right guy. The more I watch ed Marshall Williams, met him and talked to him, I felt like he's a difference maker. He's got good speed, he's got good size, he's a big, rangy guy that can go up and take the football. Probably more likely, we'd look for somebody to help us at the corner or safety position. Josh (Adams), Caparelli and Marcus (Williams) all played defense. We didn't recruit them for defense. They're here and all will start out at offense, but that is probably my biggest concern."

On regrets in this class:
"I wish we took another safety. I like Alex Frye, but we lose Josh Gattis and Patrick Ghee next year. We're going to need some young guys to step in there. If we were looking for help from another skill area, we'd be looking to help the safety position. And that may be taking a guy like Kevin Patterson off the cornerback and putting him at safety and putting one of these guys at corner, but defensive back would be our first concern."

Recruiting Coordinator Ray McCartney:
On the development of recruiting at Wake Forest against BCS schools:
"When you have low numbers of scholarships available, you can do a good job of narrowing your list quickly and you can really focus in on a young man. You can nick a Georgia or nick a Oklahoma because he might be one of many kids they are recruiting and this kids is just getting inundated (by coaches). We lock in on a guy relatively early and ride him through the whole process."

On the credibility Wake Forest coaches have with high school coaches:
"When we have gotten youngsters from each recruiting areas over the years, our credibility has increased in those areas. Then, when those kids start playing for you and you continue to recruit from that area, it's invaluable."

On how the staff recruits in North Carolina:
"(Each assistant coach has) approximately 35 to 40 schools in the state and then we all have our secondary out of state areas. We hit that hard too but we always go to our in-state area first. I really believe that if you get to know the people in your area, it's a tremendous aid in the recruiting process.

On working for head coach Jim Grobe:
"I have never worked for a guy like Coach Grobe where there is such a team concept in that recruiting room. There are no egos. Nobody worries about who signed who this year. Everybody's so team-oriented that we just try and get the best players."

On the selectivity of the recruiting process:
"We brought 21 youngsters to campus and out of those 21, 20 have made their college decision. Fifteen of them ended up as Deacs. That's a good win percentage and I think that says a lot about Wake Forest. If we can get them on campus we can get them to meet the professors and get them to meet our kids and tour the facilities."


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