2021 College Football Class Review: Wake Forest

By Corey Long - @CoreyLong
Updated Oct. 22, 2020.

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This is everything we got college recruiting wise for Wake Forest but don't take our word for it...be sure to click around the site to drive up our traffic. :).

Conference Class Rank

Last Updated/Ranked: June 11, 2020
1 Clemson logo Clemson
2 North Carolina logo North Carolina
3 Miami logo Miami
4 Florida State logo Florida State
5 Louisville logo Louisville
6 Georgia Tech logo Georgia Tech
7 Virginia logo Virginia
8 Pittsburgh logo Pittsburgh
9 Boston College logo Boston College
10 N.C. State logo N.C. State
11 Syracuse logo Syracuse
12 Duke logo Duke
13 Virginia Tech logo Virginia Tech
14 Wake Forest logo Wake Forest

2021 College Recruiting - 10 Commits

Last Player Grade Published on Oct. 22, 2020
Wake Forest logo TE Gavin Ellis (Hampstead, NC) commits Wake Forest  View Class

Ellis (6-4, 218) has good size and posted flashy numbers in high school when he played tight end and wide receiver. He didn't have much going with his recruitment, with only a couple of schools making offers, so when Wake Forest came with an offer he committed quickly.

The Demon Deacons have two tight ends in this class, and both are pretty similar. Each tight end fits the book as combo types who play the position inline and have the pass-catching potential to play in the slot or get flexed out. Ellis will need work as a blocker, but as a pass catcher, I think there is a little upside.

Gavin Ellis' Player Grade: C
Wake Forest logo LB Dylan Hazen (The Woodlands, TX) commits to Wake Forest  View Class

Wake Forest surprised some by beating out Illinois and Arizona for Hazen (6-1, 220), who had a solid list of programs interested in him. He is one of the faster linebackers in this recruiting cycle, having a recorded 100-meter time of 11.04 seconds. His speed is really noticeable when he's going north-south more so than laterally, but he can get to most spots pretty quickly.

Hazen is especially good in pursuit and chasing the play down from behind, whether its in the backfield or the open field. He had 17 tackles for loss and six sacks as a junior. Hazen has some work to do in a lot of areas, but you can't teach his speed and he plays with a good motor.

Dylan Hazen's Player Grade: C+
Wake Forest logo DT Bernard Gooden (Montgomery, AL) commits to Wake Forest  View Class

Gooden (6-1, 280) looks like a good scheme fit to play in the middle of that Wake Forest defensive line. Although Gooden has been a recruiting target for the Demon Deacons over several months the staff didn't extend a scholarship offer until late June.
,br> Gooden is a worker on the field. He fights through blockers and double teams to get to the backfield. Gooden is a solid performer against the run and will chase down ball-carriers in pursuit. He is a player who will fight until the whistle. Gooden might be a little undersized to be a nose guard, but he has decent upper body strength.

Bernard Gooden's Player Grade: C
Wake Forest logo RB Will Towns (Jackson, NJ) commits to Wake Forest  View Class

Towns (5-11, 191) is the first running back to commit to Wake Forest during this cycle, and he looks like he could be a pretty good one. He has very good speed, clocked at around in the 4.55-4.6-second range, and he's a bigger back with good balance and forward lean. Towns is kind of slippery and can make guys miss in space, plus showing nice vision when he's running between the tackles. He has the speed to take a run to the outside, but he is just as comfortable breaking down a defensive back in open space. Towns looks like one of the better offensive prospects in Wake Forest's class.

Will Towns' Player Grade: B-
Wake Forest logo CB DaShawn Jones (Baltimore, MD) commits to Wake Forest  View Class

Jones (6-0, 175) has ideal size and length for the cornerback spot, and as a junior in high school, he proved to be a ball hawk with five interceptions last season. He is better playing in zone coverage than man and does a good job at recognizing passing lines and baiting quarterbacks into making mistakes. Jones' game is based around anticipation and discipline because he doesn't have great top-end speed and can get in trouble when he's caught in single-man coverage. Jones is a pretty good tackler and plays a style that should fit in well at Wake Forest.

DaShawn Jones' Player Grade: C
Wake Forest logo OT Jaydon Collins (Greer, SC) commits to Wake Forest  View Class

Collins (6-6, 277) is the 10th verbal commitment for the Deacon Demons, and their second on the offensive line. He had several offers from Power Five programs, including Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech and Maryland. Collins has a nice skill set; he plays at the proper pad level and can win battles with leverage. He is good at the point of contact and always gets in the first blow. Collins needs to increase his strength, both in the upper and lower body. He also needs to be a little better with his hands to handle more of the speed rushers he will face in the ACC.

Jaydon Collins' Player Grade: C
Wake Forest logo OT Erik Russell (Boston, MA) commits to Wake Forest  View Class

Russell (6-7, 255) is a long, tall, big-framed prospect for the offensive line. He's built like a future left tackle and has a frame that should allow him to add plenty of weight over the next couple of years. Wake Forest, Boston College and Rutgers were among Russell's offers from Power Five programs and is the ninth verbal commitment from the Demon Deacons.

Russell will have to get stronger as he puts on weight, and he'll have to improve his leg drive, leg strength and upper body strength. He also has decent footwork and looks to be a good enough athlete. Russell will probably need a redshirt and some time on special teams to develop, but I could see him starting in his third year.

Erik Russell's Player Grade: C+
Wake Forest logo TE/DE Brandon Williams (Johnston, SC) commits to Wake Forest  View Class

Williams (6-4, 225) made a pledge to Wake Forest over Virginia Tech after visiting both programs earlier in the year before the coronavirus pandemic started. Williams is a two-way player who appears more likely to play on defense for the Demon Deacons. Williams is a little undersized right now, but he has a frame that should allow him to put on more weight. I see him as a hybrid who will do edge rushing from the standup position and also put his hand into the ground as a defensive end. Right now, Williams' primary game is speed rushing, so he will have to diversify his skill set more at the next level.

Brandon Williams' Player Grade: C+
Wake Forest logo WR D.J. Sims (Church View, VA) commits to Wake Forest  View Class

Sims (6-3, 205) looks like a giant among his competition on film. Think of Andy Reid in that punt, pass and kick contest. Sims is just so much bigger and more physical.

Anyway, Sims is a great athlete, a two-sport guy who has speed and strength. His high school team generally runs the football, so he is basically an additional offensive linemen when he's not catching the couple of targets he gets a game. That being said, Sims has some serious potential as an outside receiver, and once he gets used to more of a high-volume passing attack, Sims could make some waves at Wake Forest.

D.J. Sims' Player Grade: B-
Wake Forest logo S Joshua Sosanya (Raleigh, NC) commits to Wake Forest  View Class

Sosanya (6-1, 180) has been on Wake Forest's radar for a long time. He was a regular visitor for Demon Deacons games last season. As more programs got a hold of Sosanya's film, he began to gain some traction, with Appalachian State and Georgia Tech both extending offers to him. Wake Forest, however, won out, and it's a good fit for Sosanya because he'll be asked to perform several roles in the program's defense. Wake Forest doesn't always have big corners, so Sosanya will probably play some on the outside and in the nickel as well. He's a heady player, and that makes up for his lack of top-end speed.

Joshua Sosanya's Player Grade: C

All Commitments - 11

Most recent Commitment on Aug. 13, 2020
  • 8/13 - Gavin Ellis TE
  • 7/13 - Dylan Hazen LB
  • 7/3 - Bernard Gooden DT
  • 5/30 - Will Towns RB
  • 5/29 - DaShawn Jones CB
  • 5/15 - Jaydon Collins OT
  • 5/11 - Erik Russell OT
  • 5/6 - Brandon Williams OLB
  • 5/4 - D.J. Sims WR
  • 3/10 - Joshua Sosanya S
  • 1/7 - Santini Marucci QB

Last Season's Roster:

  • Seniors: 13
  • Juniors: 17
  • Sophmores: 28
  • Freshmen: 50
DB: 20 Players | 106 games played
Sr:2 Jr:6 So:4 Fr:8
Player Class Games|Starts
Essang Bassey Sr 8|8
Amari Henderson Sr 8|8
Nasir Greer So 8|7
Traveon Redd Jr 8|4
Trey Rucker Fr 8|4
Deandre Delaney Jr 8|0
Kenneth Dicks III Fr 8|0
Keegan Good Jr 8|0
Zion Keith So 8|0
JaSir Taylor Jr 8|0
Isaiah Essissima Fr 7|0
Luke Masterson Jr 6|6
Coby Davis So 6|3
Tyriq Hardimon So 5|0
Justin Bartee Jr 1|0
AJ Williams Fr 1|0
Jr., Marquis Alston Fr 0|0
Jr., Jarrett Alston Fr 0|0
Anthony DAngelo Fr 0|0
Peyton Woulard Fr 0|0
DL: 15 Players | 76 games played
Sr:1 Jr:3 So:4 Fr:7
Player Class Games|Starts
Jr., Carlos Basham Jr 8|8
Rondell Bothroyd Fr 8|6
Jr., Dion Bergan So 8|4
Sulaiman Kamara Jr 8|4
Dayton Diemel Sr 8|0
Shamar McCollum Fr 8|0
Royce Francis Fr 7|0
Manny Walker Jr 6|0
Tyler Williams So 5|4
Mike Allen So 5|0
Adam Winter So 4|0
Tyric Swennie Fr 1|0
Isaiah Chaney Fr 0|0
Will Smart Fr 0|0
Justin Williams Fr 0|0
K: 4 Players | 9 games played
Sr:0 Jr:0 So:2 Fr:2
Player Class Games|Starts
Nick Sciba So 8|0
Zach Murphy So 1|0
Cameron Lischke Fr 0|0
Ivan Mora Fr 0|0
LB: 12 Players | 42 games played
Sr:1 Jr:2 So:4 Fr:5
Player Class Games|Starts
Jr., Ryan Smenda So 8|8
JaCorey Johns Fr 8|6
JaCquez Williams Jr 8|1
Justin Strnad Sr 7|7
Chase Monroe So 6|0
Chase Jones Fr 2|0
Jeff Burley So 1|0
Zach Ranson Fr 1|0
Jack Rielly So 1|0
Jake Galli Fr 0|0
Jaylen Hudson Fr 0|0
DJ Taylor Jr 0|0
LS: 1 Players | 1 games played
Sr:0 Jr:0 So:0 Fr:1
Player Class Games|Starts
Noah Turner Fr 1|0
OL: 18 Players | 83 games played
Sr:3 Jr:3 So:6 Fr:6
Player Class Games|Starts
Jake Benzinger Sr 8|8
Nathan Gilliam Sr 8|8
Justin Herron Sr 8|8
Sean Maginn So 8|8
Zach Tom So 8|8
Michael Jurgens Fr 8|0
JeVionte Nash Jr 8|0
Loic Ngassam Nya So 8|0
Taleni Suhren Jr 8|0
Tyler Watson Jr 4|0
Spencer Clapp So 3|0
Goran Jovanovic So 3|0
Orlando Heggs II Fr 1|0
Mike Edwards Fr 0|0
CJ Elmonus Fr 0|0
DeVonte Gordon Fr 0|0
Allan Rappleyea So 0|0
Trey Turner Fr 0|0
P: 1 Players | 8 games played
Sr:1 Jr:0 So:0 Fr:0
Player Class Games|Starts
Dom Maggio Sr 8|0
QB: 5 Players | 13 games played
Sr:0 Jr:1 So:2 Fr:2
Player Class Games|Starts
Jamie Newman Jr 7|7
Sam Hartman So 2|1
Tayvon Bowers So 2|0
Michael Kern Fr 2|0
Leo Kelly Fr 0|0
RB: 7 Players | 27 games played
Sr:1 Jr:0 So:2 Fr:4
Player Class Games|Starts
Kenneth Walker III Fr 8|0
Christian Beal-Smith So 7|2
Cade Carney Sr 6|6
Will Drawdy So 3|0
Courtney McKinney Fr 3|0
Kendrell Flowers Fr 0|0
Joey Ray Fr 0|0
TE: 8 Players | 26 games played
Sr:1 Jr:1 So:2 Fr:4
Player Class Games|Starts
Jack Freudenthal Sr 8|8
Brandon Chapman Jr 8|0
Blake Whiteheart Fr 7|0
Connor Hebbeler So 3|0
Jack Connelly Fr 0|0
Drelyn Ford Fr 0|0
Cameron Hite Fr 0|0
Alec Rowan So 0|0
WR: 17 Players | 45 games played
Sr:3 Jr:1 So:2 Fr:11
Player Class Games|Starts
Sage Surratt So 8|8
Scotty Washington Sr 8|8
Steven Claude Sr 8|1
Kendall Hinton Sr 6|6
Jaquarii Roberson Fr 5|1
A.T. Perry Fr 4|0
Waydale Jones Fr 3|0
Isaiah Isaac Fr 2|0
Ian Driscoll So 1|0
Jarrett Brown Fr 0|0
Teddy Centofanti Fr 0|0
Jr., Andy Elkins Fr 0|0
Donavon Greene Fr 0|0
Nolan Groulx Fr 0|0
Davis Johnson Jr 0|0
JD Kavel Fr 0|0
Taylor Morin Fr 0|0


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