According to coach Dave Clawson, when he first came to Wake Forest in 2014 there were players on the team who did not enjoy football too much.
Some players were not excited about watching film or going beyond what was expected of them. Since then, the Deacs have established a culture rooted in higher expectations. The days of getting a pat on the back for playing Clemson or Florida State are over, as players now expect to win those games.
This change in culture has not been immediate but has evolved with the development of this senior class.
Legacy is a topic coach Clawson frequently emphasizes with his players. How do you want to be remembered once your days of playing in old gold and black are over? With the opportunity to earn eight wins for just the eighth time in program history, Clawson says his seniors have already forged their own legacy — one rooted in leadership and example.
For the Demon Deacons, the legacy of leadership and example begins with senior quarterback John Wolford.
“John exemplifies a lot of the best qualities of the Wake Forest football program,” Clawson said. “He’s our typical guy, under-recruited and undersized, and for two years took an absolute beating.”
Wake Forest allowed more sacks in Wolford’s first two seasons than any other program in college football and as Clawson explained, taking such a beating could have either made or broken the young quarterback. For Wolford, it made him. He never stopped working.
“The legacy John leaves is [that] I’ve never had a quarterback that’s work so hard,” Clawson said. “If you think about it we have a lot of really good quarterbacks in the ACC [Lamar Jackson]. John was second team all-conference, and that’s voted on by the coaches. He’s played at such a high-level this year and at times has willed our football team to wins.”
Clawson said sending Wolford and the rest of the senior class out with a win would be the “cherry on top.”
Wolford has put himself in elite company this season, joining Heisman Trophy winners Lamar Jackson, Tim Tebow, Marcus Mariota and Robert Griffin III as one of nine quarterbacks since 2000 to record at least 25 passing touchdowns, 10 rushing touchdowns and six or fewer interceptions in a season.
As Wolford continues to climb the record books, teammate Cam Serigne seeks one final opportunity to solidify his place as the ACC’s best tight end. In addition to holding every program record at his position, he holds ACC career records for pass receptions and receiving yards and is tied with Heath Miller (University of Virginia) and Bucky Hodges (Virginia Tech) for touchdown receptions by a tight end.
As both Wolford and Serigne play together one final time, look for the pair to hook up at least once in the end zone as the duo seeks a personal “cherry on top.”