Wake football looking to 2013 season with two Deacon standouts

It’s July. This means one of two things: It is summer now, and fall is right around the corner. And with the onset of fall, comes college football. The Wake Forest Demon Deacons are looking to rebound from a shaky 5-7 season last year, in which they barely missed becoming bowl eligible, when the Deacons experienced a 55-21 trouncing in their final game at the hands of the Vanderbilt Commodores.

But, that was last year,individuals within and without the program believe  that 2013 will be a rebirth for Wake Forest. Numerous articles found on ESPN believe Wake Forest to be a program on the rise. Even Mark May, one of ESPN’s college football analysts, says that Wake Forest is one of the Top-5 Bounce-Back Teams in the nation.

Wake Forest does not have the task of replacing many key losses on the offensive and defensive fronts, with Wake Forest’s largest loss being fullback Tommy Bohanon, who was drafted by the New York Jets after graduating from Wake. While Wake Forest does have some question marks on the offensive line with the possibility of number of underclassmen seeing significant playing time, head coach Jim Grobe is excited about the team’s future.

Photo courtesy of starnewsonline.com

Photo courtesy of starnewsonline.com

Grobe notes that Wake Forest is now attracting football players who genuinely have a love of the game, and enjoy putting on pads on a daily basis. Grobe is also open to redshirting less freshmen to increase depth, and he completely revamped the offense to feature a more option-based attack with the help of offensive coordinator Steed Lobotzke. Things are starting to change in Winston-Salem, and it appears as though Grobe is reacting to a changing college football landscape.

The past few weeks featured two Demon Deacon seniors featured on watch lists. While many in Wake Forest’s program knew the talents of these young men, they were able to receive national attention.

Senior nose guard Nikita Whitlock was named to the Bednarik, Nagurski, and Outland watch lists, which recognize exceptional talent among defensemen as well as interior linemen in college football. Last season, Whitlock finished his third year at Wake with 116 career tackles, including 30 that were for losses. The Wylie, Texas native has been named All-ACC two times while at Wake.

In addition, standout senior wide receiver Michael Campanaro was named to the 2013 Paul Hornung Watch List, which is given to the most versatile player in college football. Campanaro earned All-ACC honors last season while recording over 70 receptions for over 700 yards.

While players being named to watch lists do not always ensure wins on the football field, they certainly represent players with talent. For Wake Forest, the Demon Deacons will be relying on these playmakers to bring them to their second bowl game in the last three years.

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