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5 ways Wake Forest can try to replace Greg Dortch’s production

December 25, 2018

Two seasons of Wake Forest enjoying offensive success have seen the Deacons run their offense through the slot receiver position.

Now Wake Forest will have to find a way to replace Greg Dortch, who announced Sunday he’s leaving the Deacons for the NFL Draft after his redshirt sophomore season.

Here are the five most-likely ways the Deacons can make up for the loss of their most-dynamic playmaker:

1. Jaquarii Roberson

Roberson is the logical next-man-up option for the Deacons. He just completed a redshirt freshman season in which he had two catches for 15 yards in the Birmingham Bowl.

What Roberson brings to the table hasn’t been seen yet outside of spring practices and fall camp, though. He brings a physical presence — at 6-1, 180 pounds — to the slot position that Dortch (5-9, 170) didn’t. He features speed, too, which flashed on a 25-yard catch-and-run touchdown in Wake Forest’s second fall camp scrimmage.

“Jaquarii Roberson is not the typical Z that we have recruited here and that have played for us. They’re typically the 5-9, 5-10 guys,” assistant coach/wide receivers coach Kevin Higgins said in August. “Jaquarii is a bigger guy, but he brings a different dimension because of his size certainly helps him make it a little easier for quarterbacks to hit a bigger target.

“He’s learning the game. He has a lot of athleticism. But again, he’s very, very raw.”

2. Outside to inside

There could be a by-committee approach to the slot position, and that could include lining up an array of receivers in the slot. Any number of the following could learn to operate in the slot: Scotty Washington, Sage Surratt, Steven Claude, Waydale Jones or A.T. Perry.

Washington and Surratt figure to be penciled in as starters on the outside, which could be a potent duo if Washington returns to his 2017 form next season.

3. A freshman

There could be three freshmen who have a chance to come in and make an immediate impact at slot receiver. Isaiah Isaac redshirted this past season, while incoming freshmen Nolan Groulx and Taylor Morin boast some impressive credentials.

Isaac is from California, but played his senior season in Buford, Ga., and scored 35 touchdowns in 33 career high school games. Groulx is the highest-ranked recruit in Wake Forest’s best recruiting class under Coach Dave Clawson, a consensus four-star who finished his career second in yardage (4,038) in Mecklenburg County history. Morin is a three-star athlete who had more than 20 TD catches this season.

4. Find a grad transfer

Wake Forest was in the market for a grad transfer last spring and summer at slot receiver after the transfer of Tabari Hines, but didn’t add a player.

Now the Deacons could be in the same market.

5. Hinton returns

Hinton’s season was a long and arduous one that didn’t feature many highlights, starting with his June suspension for a violation of team rules and with speed bumps in the form of injuries throughout the season. The redshirt junior went through Senior Day this season because his status for next season was “in limbo,” Clawson said that week.

There were highlights, though, including a 23-yard touchdown run against Notre Dame and a three-catch, 38-yard performance in the Birmingham Bowl. Two players on Wake Forest’s roster this season had open-field elusiveness and speed to create big plays: Dortch and Hinton.

“We’ll get through the end of the year and sit down with them and it’s twofold — obviously, if they don’t want to come back, and then the second part of it is we have to invite them back,” Clawson said in November.

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