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Wake Forest true freshman John Wolford gets starting nod at QB

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Chuck Burton / Associated Press
Dave Clawson has opted to open his first season as Wake Forest's coach with a true freshman at quarterback.

True freshman John Wolford, who arrived on campus a bit more than two months ago, has been named Wake Forest's starting quarterback.

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"We will try and redshirt players, but if a freshman gives us the best chance to win, we're going to play him," new Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson said in a release on the school's website. "It's not fair to the juniors and the seniors in the program to make a decision based on what's best five years from now. He gives us the best chance to win, so we will now prepare him as our starting quarterback."

Wolford put up huge numbers at Jacksonville's Bishop Kenny High, including 126 TD passes, and supplanted Tim Tebow as northeast Florida's career leader in touchdown passes. Tebow threw 95 touchdown passes at Ponta Vedra Beach Nease from 2003-05.

Wolford will be the first true freshman quarterback at Wake Forest to start the season opener since Mike McGlamry in 1974. Wolford and the Demon Deacons open against Louisiana-Monroe on Aug. 28 on ESPNU.

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Wolford -- who is a dual-threat quarterback -- enjoyed a stellar career at Bishop Kenny, where he played for four seasons. He threw for 10,621 yards and 126 touchdowns, and finished with 13,403 yards of total offense; he also scored 162 total touchdowns. He set a national high school single-game record with 773 yards of total offense in a 74-73 state regional semifinal playoff loss to Clay County High last season; that was a regulation four-quarter game. Bishop Kenny is a Class 5A school; Florida has eight classes for football, so Wolford put up the huge numbers against good competition.

Height was an issue with Wolford on the recruiting trail. He's listed at 6-foot-1, but that's a listed height and some analysts felt he was under 6-0. He originally committed to East Carolina before changing his mind and signing with Wake.

This is expected to be a tough season for Wake, which was 4-8 last season and has just eight returning starters; three of those returnees are in the secondary, matching the total number of offensive starters returning. In addition to a new quarterback, Wake also will have a new feature back and a new go-to receiver. Still, the non-conference schedule is such that a 3-1 start is possible. But it's hard to see this team winning more than a game in ACC play.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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