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[2024] Wake Forest Demon Deacons ACC Season Preview

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ACC 2024 Season Previews

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

2023 Season

7th in ACC Atlantic

1-11 Record 

No Bowl Appearance


Key Departures

QB James Betts 6-1 218 (Sr) Denver West (Denver, CO) 4.0 of 4.0 [Scrambling]

SS De'Marius Mims 6-0 184 (Sr) South Point (Belmont, NC) 4.0 of 4.0 [Man Coverage]


James Betts departs the Demon Deacons after finishing last season with the worst completion percentage of all FBS starting QBs. Betts only completed 50% of his passes last season and also led FBS QBs in interceptions with 18 on nearly 100 less attempts that the nearest competition. For some reason Betts remains unsigned by any NFLHC teams. Fellow graduating redshirt senior De'Marius Mims, however, was signed by the Chicago Bears as a UDFA. Mims was one of few Demon Deacon defenders with a pulse last season and led the team in tackles with 62 while also bringing in 2 interceptions and forcing a fumble. 


Key Additions 

RB Calvin Robinson 5-8 219 Fr Laney (Wilmington NC) 2.5 of 3.5 [Power]

SS Shawn Lyles 6-2 186 Fr Wayne County (Jessup GA) 1.0 of 3.5 [Zone Coverage]


Wake Forest lost two of their most talented starters and a total of 10 starters from last season are not returning. Wake Forest unfortunately didn't bring in a lot of talent to replace those starters as they ranked dead last in the ACC for recruiting and finished with the 121st ranked class in the nation. It is unlikely that any of the freshman Wake Forest brought in this year will make an impact day one. The player most likely to do anything will be probable 3rd string RB Calvin Robinson. Robinson may be redshirted this season as Wake has more depth at running back that most other positions. I do think the Demon Deacons could benefit from rolling with Robinson and trying to run a heavy run option offense as they have talented runners and a solid offensive line and only one truly good receiving option. Either way, Robinson is the current favorite to start at running back for the Demon Deacons in 2025. SS Shawn Lyles may also see some playing time at FS this season as the Demon Deacons only have one true free safety on the roster and he is a 1.5/1.5. Lyles may not be the best fit as he is already a project at SS and playing him out of position could signal trouble for Wake Forest but they don't have a lot of better options so it will be interesting to see what they do.


Key Returning Starters

WR Owen Condon 6-1 192 (Jr) Thomasville (Thomasville NC) 4.5 of 4.5 [Speed]

OG Caleb Perrin 6-4 262 (Jr) Riverdale (Murfreesboro TN) 4.0 of 4.0 [Run Blocking]


WR Owen Condon is by far the most talented player on Wake Forest's roster this season. Condon brought in 36 catches for 481 yards and led Wake Forest in touchdowns last year with 5. Condon will hope his connection with new QB Leo Brown is more sound than it was last season with James Betts as Condon also had 6 drops on the year last season. OG Caleb Perrin is the standout on the offensive line and returns having progressed a full point. Perrin and the rest of the offensive line unit will have to play up to their full potential if the Deacons have any chance of competing in games this season.


New Faces This Year

QB Leo Brown 6-3 232 So Hargrave Military Academy (VA) 2.5 of 3.5 [Hybrid]

ILB Bronson Garner 6-1 225 (So) Rosewood (Goldsboro NC) 3.5 of 4.0 [Mike]

OLB Jay-Jay Scott 6-0 220 So Eastern Guilford (Gibsonville NC) 2.5 of 4.5 [Blitz]

CB Vernon Fair 5-11 185 Jr Laney (Wilmington NC) 3.0 of 4.0 [Man Coverage]


QB Leo Brown is the favorite to start for Wake Forest this season after he spent last season holding the clipboard behind James Betts. Fans hope that Brown watched and learned what not to do and that he will be more careful with the ball this season. Fans are very excited to see a talented trio of players get their first starts this season after they were slightly buried on the depth chart last season. ILB Bronson Garner is the most developed talent of the bunch right now. The sophomore from Goldsboro, NC hopes to make a big impact right away and should give the safeties more of a break from tackling this season. OLB Jay-Jay Scott is an exciting young prospect who loves to get pressure in the backfield. Scott is a welcome sight to a defensive unit that only got 11 sacks as a whole last season. CB Vernon Fair is moving up from the slot corner position to be the #1 CB for Wake Forest. Fair got 1 interception for Wake Forest last season and hopes to make that more of a habit this year. 


The Questions?

  • Will Wake Forest's offense pick up following the departure of turnover-prone QB James Betts or will the offense only become more anemic under Leo Brown?
  • Will the talent added on defense for Wake Forest be enough to overcome the loss of their two starting safeties from last season?
  • Will Wake Forest be able to recruit talent this year to make them competitive with the rest of the conference or will this be another lost year?


My Prediction


This is going to be a rough year for Wake Forest. I'm not sure I see a single win on their schedule at the moment (me saying this probably means they will beat me to close the year). Wake just doesn't have the talent or a favorable schedule to be a factor this year. If Coach Mglogic puts the work in this year and is able to bring in a solid recruiting class things will start to look up for the Demon Deacons. Until then, things remain very bleak in Winston-Salem. 

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