Essex Thayer

The Demon Deacons celebrate their second 11-3 season in program history after defeating Rutgers in the Gator Bowl.


Last Season: 11-3 (7-1 ACC)

August 18, 2022

Wake Forest football in 2021 was a season unlike any other. Wake Forest received its highest AP Poll rankings ever, and went 8-0 for the first time in its history. The Demon Deacons won 11 games, which tied a program record, en route to an ACC Atlantic Division title and Gator Bowl victory. Wake Forest – one of the smallest schools in the Power Five – finally became a force to be reckoned with and put the nation on notice. Head coach Dave Clawson took a program with a losing tradition and turned it into a powerhouse, not only changing the national perception of Wake Forest football, but also the culture and mentality within the locker room. Now, expectations are even higher this year for the Demon Deacons as they look to build on last year’s success.

When asked about his team’s season last year Clawson was adamant when he told his players to “enjoy the moment, but don’t get lost in it.”

The Demon Deacons have players returning at every position, and that experience will be crucial for sustaining success this season. Sam Hartman, a redshirt junior, threw for 4,228 yards and 50 touchdowns last season. His improved running ability allowed him to open up the passing game and establish his presence as a dual-threat quarterback. Hartman found receiver A.T. Perry 71 times last year, and with Donavon Greene returning from injury he’s not without his fair share of offensive weapons. Hartman will be out for an extended period of time due to treatment for a non-football-related medical condition. Mitch Griffis, redshirt freshman, will be the starting QB in the interim.

The biggest weakness for the Demon Deacons last season was consistency. Down the stretch, the team as a whole struggled, coming up short in key moments. This year the team hopes their depth and strengthened core on both sides of the ball will allow them to make a run.

Clawson has brought back Brad Lambert to take over as defensive coordinator. Lambert was the defensive coordinator at Purdue, and he looks to add a level of creativity to the defensive side. Wake Forest’s defense struggled immensely against the run last season, but their ability to create turnovers was key to their success.

The Demon Deacons open up the season against VMI on Sept. 1 and begin conference play against ACC Atlantic favorites Clemson on Sept. 24 at Truist Field. This season promises to be another great one, and with a consistent offense and revitalized defense Wake Forest will look to cement its place as a football powerhouse in the ACC.

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