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Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Wake Forest recruiting needs

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe reaped the rewards of his redshirting philosophy over the past few years, but now he is tasked with replacing a plethora of fourth- and fifth-year seniors who leave as the winningest class in school history.

With only four starters returning, defense was the staff's main focus, particularly at linebacker and defensive back. Wake Forest will lose three fifth-year senior starters at linebacker, and the secondary will lose three four-year starters and the top backup. Ouch. Wake is expecting to sign four defensive backs and three linebackers.

The two biggest names the staff will have to replace are corner Alphonso Smith and Butkus Award winner Aaron Curry.

Offensively, only nine starters are back. The offensive line was also an emphasis, as the Demon Deacons needed to add more quality depth. Wake will return five fifth-year seniors, three of whom will be starters, a fourth-year junior and a true sophomore in Joe Looney.

Wake learned to live without injured punter/placekicker Sam Swank this season, but will sign another to help out Shane Popham. The Demon Deacons would also like to secure a quarterback, as Riley Skinner's backup, Brett Hodges, is a fifth-year senior because they took two quarterbacks in the same class.