Wake Forest Adds 21 Newcomers in Football
Dec. 20, 2017

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By Wake Forest Athletic Communications (@WakeFB)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Wake Forest head football coach Dave Clawson today announced the signing of 21 newcomers to National Letters of Intent to join the Demon Deacon football team.

Wake Forest's signing class includes 10 offensive players, 10 defensive players and one specialist. The 21 players come from six states and the District of Columbia. The incoming class features six players from Georgia, five from Florida, 4 South Carolinians and three from North Carolina. Other states represented include Maryland and Connecticut.

Seventeen of the 21 signees served as team captain of their high school team.

Six of the new signees will enroll at Wake Forest in January. Those six include defensive lineman Kelijiha Brown of Saluda, S.C., defensive back Nasir Greer of Stockbridge, Ga., offensive lineman Michael Jurgens of Damascus, Md., defensive back Zion Keith of Florence, S.C., tight end Blake Whiteheart of Winston-Salem, N.C., and quarterback Sam Hartman of Charlotte, N.C. Brown, Hartman, Keith, Mike Edwards and Whiteheart are all coming off appearances in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas All-Star game on Dec. 16 in Spartanburg, S.C. Hartman was the offensive MVP for the South Carolina team where he teamed with Brown and Keith for the Sandlappers. Whiteheart had one reception for 38 yards for North Carolina while Edwards was a stalwart on the North Carolina offensive line.

On defense, the Deacons have 10 total newcomers entering the program for the 2018 season.

Among the defensive lineman are Brown, Dion Bergan of Kissimmee, Fla., Rondell Bothroyd of Mansfield, Ct., and Royce Francis of Acworth, Ga. Brown, a January enrollee at Wake Forest, was the South Carolina Upper State lineman of the year. Bergan was a first team all-district and all-county choice at Osceola High School in Kissimmee. Francis is the career sack leader at Allatoona High with 18. Bothroyd was a two-time all-state pick in Connecticut who recorded 24.5 career sacks and forced 10 fumbles.

Wake Forest signed two linebackers including JaCorey Johns of Cartersville, Ga., and Ryan Smenda of Orange Park, Fla. Johns was Georgia's 4-A state defensive player of the year while Smenda was named defensive player of the year by the Florida Times Union and Clay Today. Wake Forest is adding a quartet of defensive backs. Joining Greer and Keith will be Ken Dicks III of Suwanee, Ga., and Peyton Woulard of Suwanee, Ga. Dicks was the MVP of Nike's The Opening combine and had seven interceptions as a senior. Woulard had six picks in 2017 and was a first team all-region and all-Gwinnett County pick. Greer had four interceptions and pair of defensive touchdowns as a senior while Keith, in addition to his Shrine Bowl selection, was the region player of the year in 2017.

On offense, the Deacons are bringing in four offensive linemen including early enrollee Jurgens as well as Edwards, DeVonte Gordon of Washington D.C., and Orlando Heggs II from Jacksonville, Fla. Jurgens has the distinction of never having lost a varsity game, going 42-0 while leading Damascus to three state championships. Gordon was rated the sixth-best prospect in Washington D.C. and was an All-Met selection. Heggs hailes from The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Fla. which produced former Deacon letterwinners such as quarterback Riley Skinner, fullback Jordan Garside and defensive tackle Jon Russell. Edwards was a three-year starter at left tackle at South View High.

Three wide receivers have pledged to Wake Forest including Isaiah Isaac of Buford, Ga., Anthony Manning of Orlando, Fla., and A.T. Perry of Lake Worth, Fla. Isaac scored 35 touchdowns in 33 career high school games. Manning was his district's player of the year as a senior after catching 66 passes for 1,053 yards and 14 touchdowns. Perry brings great size at 6-5 and was an all-district, all-area and all-county selection in 2017.

The Deacons are adding one quarterback in 6-1, 185-pound Sam Hartman of Charlotte, N.C. Hartman played his senior year at Oceanside Collegiate in South Carolina after two years at Davidson Day. He was rated the 12th-best pro-style passer in the class of 2018.

The Deacons have added a running back in Courtney McKinney of Biscoe, N.C. and a placekicker in Nick Sciba of Clover, S.C. McKinney had over 6,000 career rushing yards and 86 touchdowns during his varsity career. He averaged 224 yards rushing per game as a senior. Sciba was rated the No. 7 kicker in the nation by Kohl's and converted eight of 11 field goal attempts in 2017.

Wake Forest opens the 2018 season on Aug. 30 at Tulane with the home opener set for Sept. 8 vs. Towson at BB&T Field. Spring practice begins Feb. 27 and concludes on April 7 with the annual Spring Game at BB&T Field.



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