Spotlight: Duke Ejiofor

Redshirt junior Duke Ejiofor is a leader on the 5-2 Wake Forest football team, both on and off the field.

Ejiofor, who has spent his junior season filling up the stat sheet for the Demon Deacons, is a huge part of the defense that has gotten Wake Forest off to its best start since 2006.

The defensive end has seven sacks on the year and 14 for his career, putting him at seventh all time at Wake Forest.

Ejiofor also has 24 tackles on the year and has claimed an ACC Player of the Week and Bednarik award this season.

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Wake Forest will continue to look for their sixth win to ensure that they will be bowl eligible, and Ejiofor will continue to strive for his all-ACC nod.

Three years into the Coach Clawson era, Wake Forest looks to be on track to reach new heights for the program, and Ejiofor is a big reason why.

Why did you choose to go to Wake Forest?

Coming out of high school, I only had two big offers. I had the University of Houston and Wake Forest.

I took official visits to both schools, and I found that Wake Forest had a better athletic program and a better academic program.

On my visit, I felt like this place was home, so I decided to come here.

How have you evolved as a player since redshirting your freshman year at Wake Forest?

I feel like redshirting was a huge thing for me.

I came in weighing around 230-225 pounds as an outside linebacker, and I wasn’t as strong, fast or quick.

After redshirting, I gained around 30 pounds and I feel like I just started to develop as a defensive end and got stronger, bigger and faster. It’s all paying off right now.

What was the transition from outside linebacker to defensive end  like as a young player in college?

The transition was pretty easy, because I played defensive end in high school.

I came in as an outside linebacker, so I thought that was going to be easier for me, because I weighed around 230 pounds already. When they moved me to defensive end, it wasn’t that hard of a transition.

When Coach Clawson came in three years ago, how did he help you with that transition?

He was already familiar with the fact that I played defensive end in high school, so it was basically just seeing what I could do at defensive end and just playing.

How has Coach Clawson’s philosophy since he arrived three years ago changed this team for the better? It seems like its paying off.

Each game, we have a goal. We always say “1-0” and always protect the team on our off days, and we get the whole team to buy into what Coach Clawson’s telling us.

The identity of the team has been the defense this year. To what do you attribute that?

With our defense, I feel like our communication is so much better than in past years.

I just feel like three years into the system, we’re just so much more comfortable with what Coach Elko has us doing on defense, and we’re just out there flying around and making plays.

Us being in a system for three years has us well prepared to do what Coach Elko wants us to do on the field.

Going back to the preseason, this team has an air of confidence around it that may not have been there in the last few years.

I agree. Just being in a system for three years with all that preparation and all that hard work we do with Coach Horrigan in the summers. Just being comfortable and confident in what we have to do on the field.

What do you feel this Wake Forest team is capable of as the season progresses?

I feel like we’re capable of beating anybody we go against. We just have to make sure we don’t beat ourselves and just execute the defense and offense as well.

We just have to do our jobs, and I feel like we’re capable of beating anybody we go against.

What are some of your personal goals for this season?

Coming into the season, I wanted to make all-conference but that’s kind of pretty much it.

I just want the team to do well, go to a bowl game and reach more than six wins.

What are some of the team goals for this season?

Bowl games or six-plus wins. That’s all we want right now.

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