Wake Forest Signs 19 to Football Letters of Intent
Feb. 1, 2012
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Wake Forest head football coach Jim Grobe today announced the signing of 19 prospective student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to attend Wake Forest.
The signing class consists of players from nine states including eight from Florida, three from North Carolina, and two from Georgia as well as players from Alabama, Colorado, Louisiana, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
The class includes 10 offensive players and nine on defense. On offense, Wake Forest is bringing in two wide receivers, two tight ends, three offensive linemen, a quarterback, a running back and one player designated as an athlete. Defensively, the Demon Deacons are adding four defensive backs including two cornerbacks and a pair of safeties, three defensive linemen, a linebacker and an athlete.
"This is a pretty balanced class where every position group is represented," said Grobe. "I think that these kids are good fits for Wake Forest in terms of character and athletic ability. We may have to look at a few of these players for immediate help in the fall."
Wake Forest is losing a total of 12 starters off last year's Music City Bowl team. The Deacons must replace eight offensive starters and four on defense.
The Deacons are losing four starters on the offensive line and will add three freshmen in the fall of 2012. The group includes Joel Suggs (6-6, 285) of Randleman, NC, Tyler Hayworth (6-4, 306) from Dobyns-Bennett in Kingsport, Tenn., and Will Smith (6-5, 285) from Charlotte, NC who has played at Christchurch School in Saluda, Va.
Wake Forest lost a pair of key wide receivers in Danny Dembry and Chris Givens. A pair of freshmen will look to help replenish the receiving corps. The Deacons signed a pair of big receivers in 6-3, 190-pound Jared Crump of St. Johns, Fla (Bartram Trail) and 6-4, 170-pound Jonathan Williams of Atlanta (Mays).
With lefthander Tanner Price returning at quarterback, the Deacons added another southpaw in 6-3, 210-pound Tyler Cameron of Jupiter, Fla. (Jupiter). Cameron is the lone member of the recruiting class to have enrolled early. He started classes at Wake Forest on Jan. 18.
Wake Forest lost its top two tight ends to graduation following the 2011 season in Andrew Parker and Cameron Ford. The Deacons signed a pair of tight ends in 6-5, 235-pound Zach Gordon of Carrollton, Ga. and 6-4, 235-pound Anthony Rook of Greenville, NC (Rose).
Running back Joshua Wilhite (5-10, 187) of Fresno, Texas (Fort Bend Hightower) will join the Deacons after rushing for over 2,000 yards as a senior and helping Hightower to the Texas 5A State Championship game.
Steve Donatell (6-5, 195) from Lone Tree, Colo. (Highland Ranch) will enroll at Wake Forest without a specified position. A versatile athlete who plays four sports in high school, Donatell excelled as a lefthanded quarterback and first team all-state punter. As a basketball player, Donatell is an outstanding scorer and rebounder who has his high school ranked No. 1 in Colorado with a 17-0 record.
On defense, the Deacons lose just four starters but two of those are in the secondary and include starting safeties Cyhl Quarles and Josh Bush. Wake Forest is bringing in a pair of safety candidates in 5-10, 195-pound Dominique Gibson from Belle Glade, Fla. and 5-11, 180-pound Ryan Janvion from Pembroke Pines, Fla. (Dade Christian). Janvion hails from the same high school as current Deacon safety Daniel Mack.
At corner, the Deacons will welcome a pair of freshmen in 5-10, 170-pound James Ward from DeLand, Fla. and 5-11, 180-pound LaRonji Vason of Prattville, Ala. Vason helped his team to the 6A state championship in 2011.
Wake Forest landed three players that the coaches expect to compete on the defensive line. The trio includes 6-2, 240-pound nose guard Shelldon Lewinson from 6A state champion Seffner, Fla. (Armwood) and a pair of defensive ends in 6-4, 245-pound Tylor Harris of Baton Rouge, La. (Episcopal) and 6-4, 250-pound Josh Banks of Apex, NC (Middle Creek).
Teddy Matthews is a 6-3, 225-pound linebacker from West Palm Beach, Fla. (Royal Palm Beach), the same high school that produced former Deacon running back Brandon Pendergrass. Kevis Jones, a 6-2, 220-pound athlete from Oakland Park, Fla. (Northeast) is a high school linebacker who could play a variety of positions for the Deacons.
Wake Forest did well in recruiting Palm Beach County in South Florida in 2011. QB Tyler Cameron (Jupiter), LB Teddy Matthews (West Palm Beach) and S Dominique Gibson (Belle Glade) are all from Palm Beach County.
Two future Deacons played against each other the Florida 6A state semifinals. Shelldon Lewinson's Seffner (Armwood) squad topped Jared Crump's Bartram Trail club 46-38 to advance to the state championship game.
Three future Deacons played on state championship squads in 2011. Shelldon Lewinson's Seffner/Armwood team won the Florida 6A title while Will Smith's Christchurch team won the Virginia Independent Division II title. LaRonji Vason's Prattville club won the Alabame 6A championship. Joshua Wilhite's Fort Bend Hightower club reached the Texas 5A state championship game.
Jared Crump and Steve Donatell were leaders of teams that reached state semifinals in 2011. Zach Gordon of Carrollton, Ga. and Dominique Gibson of Belle Glade, Fla. played on squads that reached the state title game in 2010.
Tyler Hayworth, Shelldon Lewinson and Will Smith helped their teams to undefeated regular season records in 2011. Lewinson's Seffner (Armwood) team and Smith's Christchurch club were the only squads among this year's signees that went undefeated throughout the season.
Wake Forest's 19 signees helped their respective teams to a combined record of 184-49 in 2011.
TE Anthony Rook is the second Greenville, NC Rose graduate to play football for the Demon Deacons. DB Donald Johnson (1981-84) was a three-year letterman for the Deacons.