Breaking: Wake Forest loses two quarterbacks to transfer portal

Mitch Griffis and Santino Marucci to transfer after graduation in May
Mitch Griffis drops back for a pass during the Sept. 9 win over Vanderbilt.
Mitch Griffis drops back for a pass during the Sept. 9 win over Vanderbilt.

Mitch Griffis, Wake Forest’s starting quarterback for much of the 2023 season, intends to enter the transfer portal. The redshirt sophomore announced his decision on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Tuesday morning. 

“I am incredibly thankful for my four years at Wake Forest,” Griffis wrote. “The friendships and memories I have created will last a lifetime. A special thank you to Coach Clawson and Coach [Ruggerio] for giving me an opportunity to live out my dream. I will always be a Demon Deacon.”

Griffis was the Demon Deacons’ starting quarterback for nine games this season (and 10 games total) but was benched for redshirt junior Michael Kern during the Nov. 11 loss to NC State. He did not appear in the final two games of the season. 

Named a team captain at the beginning of the season, Griffis finished the year with 1,553 passing yards, nine touchdowns and seven interceptions, while rushing for 128 yards and two touchdowns. He was sacked 34 times over the course of nine games.

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Redshirt sophomore Santino Marucci also announced his intent to transfer on X, an hour after Griffis did. As the third-string quarterback, Marucci appeared in three games during the 2023 season, but only threw a pass in one of them.

The Jacksonville, Fla. native was carried off the field after orchestrating a last-second comeback victory against Pitt on Oct. 21. Marucci threw for 151 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

Both Griffis and Marucci will transfer from the team after graduating from Wake Forest in May 2024. They will have two years of eligibility left and will be immediately eligible to play.

With the Griffis and Marucci’s departures, only two scholarship players remain in the Wake Forest quarterback room — Kern and freshman Charlie Gilliam. Jeremy Hecklinski, a three-star recruit from Walton High School in Marietta, Ga., will enroll early during the upcoming spring semester.

On Tuesday afternoon, Kern announced that he will be returning for his sixth and final year of college football on Instagram.

During a press conference before the Nov. 18 game against Notre Dame, Head Coach Dave Clawson said that next year’s starting quarterback will not be named in the spring, like Griffis was. 

“It will be an open competition and whoever wins that job, whether they’re on the roster now or not on the roster now, will be the best quarterback.”

The Old Gold & Black will continue to report on the transfer portal. 

Correction: An earlier version of this article said that Mitch Griffis started in 10 games during the 2023 season. Griffis started in nine in 2023; he has 10 career starts.

Update 5:45 p.m. – This story has been updated to reflect that Michael Kern confirmed on Instagram that he will be returning for a sixth year of college football at Wake Forest. 

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    clousclavosNov 28, 2023 at 9:57 pm

    None of the QB’s currently on the roster are worth being upset about…IMO.