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Wake Forest

Thursday, September 11, 2008 11:41am
By: Accsports Staff

Grobe's Plan Targeted Speed, Character Early

WINSTON-SALEM — Ben Mauk is a big recruit for Wake Forest. The question is: How big? Mauk's numbers are huge: He owns the national prep records for passing yards in a season (6,540) and a career (17,534), and he's second all-time in TD passes (179). His importance as a recruit also may be enormous: The Deacons have been a solid team the last two years with a brainy but not overly talented quarterback. Imagine what this offense could do with a brainy, top-notch QB who just spent four years successfully executing a no-huddle, five-receiver passing attack. Despite his outrageous accomplishments, Mauk failed to make a single All-America team. Why? For starters, he's only about 6-1 and 195 pounds, and most coaches and gurus would rather have their QB come in a bigger package. Some also questioned whether the numbers were more a product of his talent or of a pass-happy system installed by his father/coach and utilized against overmatched opponents. Mike Mauk said it was the ability of his son, an outstanding student, to handle the complex offense that made it work, and not the other way around. “Benjamin's ability to read and react allowed us to eliminate the back and go five-wide, which puts more pressure on the defense,” Mike Mauk said. “In our offense, it's almost like playing a video game.” That's good news for Wake. While it doesn't run a complex passing set now, its no-huddle offense demands a heady quick-thinker who can recognize defenses and make calls at the line. The coaches believe they have a steal, as they relied on their Ohio connections to beat out early interest from Iowa, LSU, Penn State and others, then worked hard to keep Mauk from looking elsewhere later. Mauk faxed his letter of intent at 7:01 a.m. on signing day, perhaps symbolizing the kind of leader the Deacons hope he will be. “Coach Jeff Mullen did an outstanding job in recruiting Ben,” Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe said. “We were fortunate to have Ben in one of our camps, and we fell in love with him. A lot of people did try and come back on Ben, but he is the type of character kid that once he tells you something, that's it.”

Who Got Away?

If there was a disappointing aspect to Wake's improving recruiting, it probably was the lack of progress in-state. Last year, the new coaches made some quick in-roads. They signed only four North Carolina players, but three — James Adams, Josh Gattis and Jamil Smith — were pretty well-regarded. This year, Wake signed only three in-state players, two of whom received major college attention. Offensive lineman Matt Brim originally committed to ECU and had an offer from N.C. State. Cornerback and return ace Kenneth Moore attracted offers from Duke, ECU, Virginia and others. Receiver Delon Lowe, who satisfied Wake's desire for a big target, attracted mainly I-AA schools. The Deacons' biggest in-state miss was in their own backyard. Defensive tackle Isaiah Thomas of Winston-Salem Carver, a SuperPrep All-American, signed with UNC. Although they worked him hard, the Deacs were never in the running. Other misses: Apopka (FL) High RB Alan Abrams (Mississippi), Louisville (KY) Male ATH Michael Bush (Louisville), West Orange (NJ) Seton Hall RB Andre Callender (Boston College), Van Wert (OH) High OL Andrew Crummey (Maryland), Cincinnati (OH) Woodward DE Ray Edwards (Purdue), Hope Mills (NC) South View OL Kyndraus Guy (UNC), Cincinnati (OH) Anderson OL Ty Hall (Boston College), Warner Robins (GA) Houston County TE Trahern Holden (Georgia), Norcross (GA) Wesleyan OL David Jackson (Stanford), Morganton (NC) Freedom WR Chris Jefferson (Clemson), Tampa (FL) Chamberlain WR Greg Lee (Pitt), Camden (SC) High QB Eric McCollom (Iowa), Clover (SC) High RB Ronnie McGill (UNC), Old Bridge (NJ) High RB Brandon Nolen (Clemson), Bethel (NC) North Pitt DB Quinton Person (UNC), Estero (FL) High TE Micah Rucker (Minnesota) and Louisville (KY) Trinity OL Dylan Thiry (Northwestern). Pompano Beach (FL) Ely DE James Martin committed to Wake but signed with N.C. State. Compiled by Dave Glenn

2003 Wake Forest Football Signees

Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Stars High School/Junior College Comment
Jonathan Abbate LB 5-10 240 3/3 Kennesaw (GA) Harrison 1st-team 5A; 3-year starter; over UAB, Miami-Ohio (!)
Micah Andrews RB 5-10 190 3/3 Norcross (GA) Atlanta Christian SP-19 GA; 2A off. POY; over BC, Louis., NW, Tulane
Monte Anthony-C RB 5-9 180 2/2 Winston-Salem (NC) Carver 4-year starter for strong program; 4.4 sprinter; unsigned (?)
Devin Blake DB 5-11 170 2/2 Jacksonville (FL) First Coast HM all-area; 3-year starter; track (4.4) star; Tulane switch
Matt Brim OL 6-6 300 2/3 Winston-Salem (NC) Carver SP-16 NC; RV-17 NC; 1st-team all-NC; ECU switch
D'Angelo Bryant DB 6-2 215 3/3 Aiken (SC) Silver Bluff SP-17 SC; 1st-team 2A as ATH; over Duke, GT, Vandy
Johnny Edwards DB 5-11 180 3/3 Fayetteville (GA) Starrs Mill SP-31 GA; Vandy switch; also over Duke, ECU, Stan. (!)
Louis Frazier OL 6-4 300 2/2 Clearwater (FL) High All-district; over Air Force, Army, Navy, Ivy League (!)
Eric Gaskins-C DT 6-2 265 2/2 Durham (NC) Southern SP-27 NC; over UVa, ECU, UNC interest; unsigned (?)
Bruce Hall QB 6-0 185 2/3 Milton (FL) High 1st-team 3A as utility player; over MTSU, Navy, USF (!)
Jeromy Jones DT 6-2 265 2/2 Marietta (GA) Wheeler SP-40 GA; HM 5A all-GA; over UAB, MTSU, Troy St.
Steve Justice OL 6-4 275 2/3 New Smyrna Beach (FL) High 1st-team 4A in 2001; over Rut., USF, So.Miss (!)
Delon Lowe WR 6-4 190 2/2 Fayetteville (NC) Smith SP-25 NC; from strong in-state program; over I-AA
Kevin Marion WR 5-9 150 2/2 St. Petersburg (FL) Hollins Track star missed FB season (ACL); over Rut., USF (?)
Aaron Mason WR/DB 5-10 185 2/2 Lexington (KY) Dunbar Track star (4.4) also RB/KR; over Cincy, Ind., Vandy (!)
Ben Mauk QB 6-1 195 3/3 Kenton (OH) High National record-setter for state title team; sidebar (!)
Aaron McKenzie DT 6-2 290 2/2 Lakeland (FL) Jenkins All-county, all-district as senior; a "sleeper"; over I-AA
Kenneth Moore DB 5-11 170 3/3 Matthews (NC) Butler SP-23 NC; big numbers as WR/KR; over Duke, ECU
Brodie Overstreet OL 6-6 275 3/3 Danville (KY) Boyle County SP-39 OL; 1st-team all-KY; over Ind., Ky., Louis., WVU
Matthew Robinson DE 6-3 230 2/3 Cedartown (GA) High SP-41 GA; 1st-team 3A; 57 career sacks; over BC, GT
Zac Selmon TE 6-5 231 2/2 Norman (OK) High 2-year starter; from famous FB family; over Rice (!)
Zachary Stukes DE 6-4 245 2/2 Marietta (GA) Sprayberry HM all-area; 2-year starter; over Miami-Ohio, MTSU
John Tereshinski TE 6-5 205 2/2 Athens (GA) Academy Father played, brother plays at Georgia; over Vandy
Jyles Tucker DE 6-4 250 2/2 Chatham (VA) Hargrave Military Re-sign from Morristown (NJ) Beard; a top prep player
Travo Woods RB 5-10 170 2/3 Longwood (FL) Lyman SP-58 FL; track star slowed (ankle) as senior; over UCF

*-All-American (top 250 by two/more services)
(!)-strong academics
(?)-unconfirmed academics
MX-Max Emfinger
TL-Tom Lemming
STARS: By Insiders/Rivals