Wake Forest Demon Deacons 2023 College Football Preview

Wake Forest Demon Deacons 2023 College Football Preview

July 9, 2023

2022 Recap

Record – 8-5

ATS – 8-5

The Demon Deacons could’ve easily started 7-0 as their only defeat in the early going came at the hands of the mighty Clemson Tigers in 2OT. They fell apart in the second half of the season and lost four of their last five regular season games, although two of those were close shaves. They took care of Missouri in the Gasparilla Bowl (W 27-17) for their 8th win, and that meant yet another productive season for Wake Forest under the care of HC Dave Clawson.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons 2023 Outlook


One of the biggest questions in college football heading into the 2023 season is how the Demon Deacons will adapt after the transfer of All-Universe QB Sam Hartman to Notre Dame. Wake Forest averaged 36,41 and 36 PPG the L3Y and there’s no way we can expect that level of production this season. It’s good to know that QB Mitch Griffis has looked decent in limited action, but note that he’s an undersized scrambling type of QB that’s very different from what Hartman brought to the table. Thankfully, the Demon Deacons have one of the best WR rooms in the ACC, even after losing 1,000-yard man AT Perry to the NFL. Four doods are retained that tallied 500+ yards in 2022 (combined 25 TD) (!). They took a hit in terms of depth in the RB unit but they bring back #1 rusher Justice Ellison who will be a big part of the offense. Almost as worrisome as the departure of Hartman is an offensive line that returns just a pair of starters. We expect the offense to be down a significant notch and linger mid-pack in the ACC in most categories.


The Demon Deacons have allowed between 28 and 33 PPG in each of the last six seasons. That’s kinda their happy place, yo. Only six starters return on this side of the football and they’ll certainly miss their star LB and #1 tackler Ryan Smenda. Things look very sketchy up front as they lose almost all of their key contributors, but thankfully, they retain sack leader Jasheen Davis (7). It’s gonna be close to impossible to match last year’s performance vs the run (136 YPG, #7 ACC). The secondary is in good shape with several starters back in action but note that they were mediocre vs the pass in 2022 (#12 ACC pass efficiency D, 29-7 TD to INT). This has the look of a below-average ACC defense.


There’s continuity across the board but the special teams were underwhelming in 2022. The star of the show is PK Matthew Dennis who nailed 12-14 FGA LY (56-57 XP).

Schedule Analysis

Overall – WHOA, NELLIE. The Deacons have an excellent shot to start 4-0 with their toughest game being a home date against Georgia Tech. They better scoop up those wins, because after that soft start, they have a much tougher schedule that includes dates with Clemson (A), Florida St (H), and Notre Dame (A).

Potential ATS Trouble Spot – at Virginia Tech (Oct 14)

This will be their 3rd road game in four (bye week in there, tho) and it’s SMACK-DAB in the middle of a Clemson/Pitt sandwich.

Season Win Total

Market consensus July 9

Over 6 -125

Under 6 -105


Lean: Over

We’ve got slight LEANAGE to the ‘over’ due to the aforementioned early schedule. 16 of our 21 models spit out six or seven wins as the eventual outcome but there’s more downside risk with this team than upside.

MEGAmazing Tidbit

After starting the rebuilding process and booking back-to-back 3-9 seasons, HC Dave Clawson has a fantastic record of 53-35 (.602). It’s even better if you throw out the 2020 PLANDEMIC ** season (49-30, .620).

** Karen, it’s safe to take off your four masks and eye shield, provided of course that you stay six feet apart from everyone. One inch less than that could be deadly. That’s just “science”.


Corpses have been stacked in Vegas sportsbooks for many years since Dave Clawson took over in Winston-Salem ^^. Those unfortunate souls bet against the Demon Deacons and paid the ultimate price. This season may be a different story as they’ve got a major downgrade at QB and appear to be weak in the trenches. We’re looking at a five-to-seven win team, with the most likely outcome being that they find a way to get to a bowl game. Go DEACS!

^^ needs fact check