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2018 Wake Forest football season preview

2017 season: 8-5, 4-4 in the ACC (T-3rd in the Atlantic Division) 

Head coach: Dave Clawson (5th season) 

Wake Forest was up and down throughout its 2017 campaign, winning four straight games to start the season but proceeding to drop its next three. The Demon Deacons did take home some signature wins, including upsets against reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson and Louisville and No. 25 NC State. Wake Forest dropped its final regular-season game to a Duke team desperate for a bid to the postseason, before winning an electrifying Belk Bowl contest 55-52 against Texas A&M. 

Quarterback John Wolford graduated after starting nearly every game since he was a true freshman in 2014. This leaves a big question mark under center, where freshman Sam Hartman won the starting position after fall camp. Expected starter Kendall Hinton was suspended for the first three games of the season in June for violating team rules.

Other major losses for the Demon Deacons are defensive back Jessie Bates and defensive end Duke Ejiofor, who were both drafted to the NFL, and tight end Cam Serigne, who went unsigned. Despite these losses, Wake Forest is returning eight starters on offense, a solid core that looks to improve on last year’s impressive performance, scoring 35.3 points per game. With six returning starters on defense, there is more room for growth, as Wake Forest will look to be more disruptive. 

The question marks around the quarterback position will need to be solved quickly, as the Demon Deacons face Boston College in Week 3 before starting a gauntlet including powerhouses Notre Dame and Clemson. With a daunting schedule but lots of potential, Wake Forest will hope to qualify for a third straight bowl game in 2018.

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