Sports
Sawvel steps in as defensive coordinator
By
Online Managing Editor
Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Wake Forest football team is coming off of it’s best and most newsworthy season in at least five years, and the roller coaster doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon for head Coach Dave Clawson and the rest of the program. 

Wake Forest will soon welcome their fourth recruiting class in the Clawson era, and while it doesn’t rank as highly as his past classes at Wake Forest, the ranking itself isn’t reason for Wake Forest fans to fret.

After all, Wake Forest will be entering into next year with a team that has been fully shaped and recruited by Clawson and his staff, and theoretically, then, should be the most prepared team Wake Forest has seen since 2013.

Clawson’s recent eight-year extension with Wake Forest should only assist him and his staff in recruiting, as it adds stability to a program that has seen tumultuous times over the last half-dozen years.

247sports.com has Wake Forest’s 2017 recruiting class ranked as No. 67 in the country and No. 14 in the ACC, marginally worse than their 2016 and 2015 classes, which ranked No. 11 and No. 12 in the ACC respectively. This year’s class is highlighted by the Associated Press North Carolina high school offensive player of the year, Sage Surratt, of Lincolnton, NC.

Surratt, a wide receiver who put up jaw-dropping numbers of 129 receptions for 2,102 yards and 28 touchdowns as a senior at Lincolnton High. Surratt will undoubtedly aid in the increasingly-explosive offense that Clawson is trying to establish.

Other highly-touted 2017 recruits include the No. 21 defensive end in the nation, Michael Allen, and Christian Beal, the No. 15 all-purpose back in the country according to 247sports.com.

Other notable changes in the Wake Forest program include the hiring of new defensive coordinator Jay Sawvel and Lyle Hemhill, who will be an assistant defensive coach.

Following the departure of defensive coordinator Mike Elko, Sawvel was hired from Minnesota, where he served as an assistant for the last six years and helped lead the Golden Gophers to their best record in 13 years.

“Jay’s background has been running a very similar defensive scheme to what we have run at Wake Forest,” Clawson said.

Wake Forest hasn’t wasted any time in trying to improve on an already-historic season, and the defense will be crucial to future success if Clawson is to maintain the tough identity of his Demon Deacon teams.