Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Getty Images

Josh Okonye uses tweet to announce grad transfer from Wake Forest to Purdue

Leave a comment

Purdue’s defensive secondary has gotten a veteran shot in the arm in the midst of spring practice.

On his personal Twitter account late this past week, Josh Okonye announced that he has decided to transfer from Wake Forest to the Big Ten football program.  One of the reasons for the defensive back landing in West Lafayette could be Derrick Johnson, the Boilermakers’ new cornerbacks coach who spent the last four season as a defensive assistant with the Demon Deacons.

As Okonye is coming to the Boilermakers as a graduate assistant, he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2017.  The upcoming season will be his final year of eligibility.

A three-star 2013 recruit, Okonye took a redshirt his true freshman season. The past three seasons, Okonye played in a total of 37 games, none of those being starts.

A baker’s dozen of those games played came in 2016 when he served as a safety/nickel back. His 36 tackles last year were tied for seventh on the Demon Deacons, while his three passes defensed were tied for sixth.

Longtime Wake Forest assistant completes Charlotte’s coaching staff

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Earlier this week, Brad Lambert added a longtime Power Five assistant to his Charlotte coaching staff.  Not long after, he has added another.

The 49ers announced in a release that Keith Henry has been hired by Lambert as his running backs coach.  The 49ers’ coach at that position last season, Damien Gary, will shift to wide receivers.

Henry and Lambert (pictured, left) were on the same staff at Wake Forest, so they have a previous working relationship.

“Keith brings a lot of experience to our program,” said Lambert in a statement. “Having coached on both sides of the ball, he brings an added dimension of a defensive perspective to our offense. We’re really glad he’s coming on board with us. He’s a North Carolina native who’s played in North Carolina and has recruited for many, many years in North and South Carolina. That will be a huge benefit to our program with the relationships he’s built over the years.

“He’s been very successful and been a part of winning football at Ohio, Wake Forest and Catawba.”

Henry spent 11 seasons with the Demon Deacons (2001-11). He coached on the defensive side of the ball for the first 10 years before spending his final season with the ACC school as special teams coordinator.  His last job on the offensive side of the ball came as wide receivers coach at Ohio in 1996.

North Carolina, Appalachian State announce 3-game series

Getty Images
1 Comment

Appalachian State hosted Miami last year and recently announced a 4-game series with East Carolina, but Monday’s announcement tops both of them combined…. probably.

The Mountaineers announced Monday a 3-game series with North Carolina, which calls for the Tar Heels’ first-ever visit to Boone among the set.

North Carolina will host Appalachian State on Sept. 21, 2019 and Sept. 9, 2023, with the Heels heading to the mountains for the sandwich game on Sept. 3, 2022. The 2022 visit marks the third ACC team to visit Appalachian State in a 7-year span, and just the second of the Big Four in-state schools to visit Boone; the Mountaineers host Wake Forest on Sept. 23 of this coming season to mark the first of such games.

“This series is the next addition in bringing Power 5 programs to Kidd Brewer Stadium,” App State AD Doug Gillin said in a statement. “With a record crowd for Miami last year, Wake Forest this season, and North Carolina in 2022 we are continuously looking for opportunities to bring great opponents to The Rock.  Our goal is to continue to bring Power 5 opponents, when available, and quality Group of 5 opponents to Boone, which benefits our students, student-athletes, university and community.  I truly enjoyed working with the UNC administration in constructing a series that is a win-win. Playing regional and in-state opponents makes a lot of sense for us.  We will see an increase in tickets sales both home and away, reduced travel costs and less missed class time for our students. Over the next eight seasons we will be playing the series with UNC, in addition to a four-game series with ECU, and home-and-home series with Wake Forest, Charlotte, and Marshall.”

Appalachian State has played the Big Four 29 times previously, all in their respective homes: 22 trips to Winston-Salem, six to Raleigh and one to Chapel Hill, a 56-6 Heels win in 1940.

Dave Clawson completes Wake coaching staff with Duke product

Getty Images
Leave a comment

In adding to his Wake Forest coaching staff, Dave Clawson has added an individual very familiar with the area in general and the conference specifically.

Wake announced in a press release that Clawson has picked Brad Sherrod to join his Demon Deacons’ defensive coaching staff.  No specific role and/or title was announced for Sherrod; that’s expected to come at a later time.

Sherrod comes to Wake after spending one season with FCS Sam Houston State as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.  He’s also a former player and assistant at ACC rival Duke.

“Brad is very familiar with the ACC from his time as both a player and coach at Duke,” said Clawson in a statement. “His experience in coaching linebackers as well as being a defensive coordinator will be a great asset to our staff. With every member of the defensive staff having coordinator experience, I am confident that our defense is in good hands.”

Sherrod’s other coaching stops include UMass, East Tennessee State, Elon and Delaware.

Army’s DC suspended, fined $25k for role in WakeyLeaks

Getty Images

If you thought the scandal dubbed “WakeyLeaks” had run its course, think again.

Tuesday afternoon, Army announced that, following an investigation that began in December, it has concluded that current defensive coordinator Jay Bateman, along with former assistant coach Ray McCartney, were “involved in mishandling information about the Wake Forest football program.” The probe unearthed facts that allowed the service academy to reach the conclusion that both coaches had “obtained non-public information” and, most damning of all, “took actions to conceal the information and its source.”

As a result, Bateman has been fined $25,000 and suspended from all football-related activities for a period of two weeks.  Additionally, Bateman will be required to attend an ethics training program.

“Our commitment is to foster a culture of excellence and winning in everything we do,” USMA superintendent Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen, Jr. said in a statement. “It does not mean that we win at all costs. Rather, it means winning in accordance with our values and who we are as an institution and a nation. When we win, we will do so honorably, remaining true to the values and standards that define us.”

“Although no NCAA rules were violated, these actions do not represent our values,” athletic director Boo Corrigan. “We appreciate Wake Forest bringing this matter to our attention and I want to apologize to the Wake Forest administration and to the West Point community.”

In mid-December, Wake Forest announced that an internal investigation had revealed that former football staffer Tommy Elrod, a radio announcer for Demon Deacon football games, had, starting in 2014, provided and passed along proprietary and confidential information to Wake opponents.  Elrod had played for Wake and then was associated with the football program for 11 seasons but wasn’t retained by head coach Dave Clawson in 2014, moving on to the IMG radio network and the broadcast of his alma mater’s football games.

Both Louisville and Virginia Tech were fined $25,000 by the ACC for their roles in the scandal.  Shane Beamer, a former VT assistant now at Georgia, was fined $25,000 as well.