A confident group, the recruiting class of 2004 wanted to ensure they weren't just another class at Wake Forest. They wanted to be winners. "When we came in, we were going to make a difference," Aaron Curry exclaimed. "That started in one meeting [before our redshirt season] and since then we've prepared like we were going to play and be starters." Of course, they knew they weren't going to be starters that first year – Grobe had told them that they would redshirt.
Curry was motivated to succeed and earn a starting spot, however. Considered undersized out of high school, he hit the weight room hard to earn a spot in the rotation and to prove his naysayers wrong. Curry had a desire and motivation to succeed matched by few athletes to have ever gone through the Wake Forest program.
"A lot of things play into my motivation," Curry said of his desire to succeed. "The first thing was my family and mom. I wanted to get her out of the places she was. I knew through football I could help our family financially.
"Second, I was determined to punish every team that said I was too small and too slow. After every game, I wanted coaches to regret not recruiting me. I was willing to accept the challenge of changing the program with the guys. I was a part of something special."
Curry punished ACC foes over the course of his career at Wake Forest. In his four years on the field, he collected 332 tackles. As a junior, Curry was named 2nd Team All-ACC. He returned to Wake Forest for his senior season to prove himself further. Driven to show the nation that he was the best linebacker in the nation, he amassed 105 tackles, 16 tackles-for-loss, 2.5 sacks and one interception as a senior. The country noticed his production. He was named the Butkus Award winner as the nation's top linebacker and was a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski award. Curry was also named first team All-ACC and was on virtually everyone's All-American team.
"I feel like my legacy is [going to be] that no matter the adversity of challenge, step up to the plate and play your best every moment," Curry said when asked about the topic. "I treat every workout like gameday. I was never at the point where I didn't want to be there. I was always happy to be there and it was a privilege to be at Wake – I'll always be thankful to Wake for giving me that opportunity, that was a huge step in my life."
As a result of his production, Curry has rocketed up draft boards and could now be a top ten or even a top five selection. As with every other player, he will need to put up some good numbers for the scouts between now and the draft to remain that high, but he will not drop too far either way.
"I report to the combine in [a few] weeks," Curry said, "and after that, I will work here until pro day [March 23rd.] After that I have team visits if anyone is interested. After that, I'll be relaxing until I get my name called."
At this point, Curry does not have one particular team that he wants to play for. Instead, he just wants an opportunity. "I haven't sat down and discussed things with teams in particular," he said. "I'm training and preparing for the biggest job interview of my life. I feel very comfortable. It's being myself and showing my character, not just me as a football players"
Curry will also continue to work hard to prepare himself for the NFL. "I tell myself I have to keep working. I have to remain humble. Just as fast as I get there, it can be stripped away. I don't get into the media. I have to pave the road myself and remain humble and stay motivated."
Regardless of his NFL success, Curry and his fellow "Fresh Deacs" will always have a legacy at Wake Forest. "As far as our class, we all left feeling hard work pays off no matter what others say. Only yourself controls your goals. We changed a lot of things at Wake Forest. They put in the new Deacon tower and turf and Wake is expected to compete for years."
"The best feeling is to know hard work pays off," he continued. "It is good to know that the attitude we came in with paid off. We were always disciplined and motivated to do the right things. Our senior season was there to show that Wake is here to stay but we have to work hard. ACC championships don't get handed to you but to hear how conversations have changed from ‘we might win four games this year' to ‘we should compete for the ACC', that's a big step."
Regardless of where the "Fresh Deacs" go from here, they will always be remembered for the changes they made in the Wake Forest program. Curry expects them to stick together, even post-graduation. "As far as the class, Fresh Deacs isn't for our college career. We built a bond that can't be broken."
Curry was also emphatic that his bond with the Wake Forest fan base could never be broken. "I want to tell all the Wake Forest fans that I'm very grateful for the support in my years at Wake," he said. "I want to thank them for always never giving up on us and sticking through the thick and thin. It was their support that gave us a reason to put a show on each Saturday."