January 29, 2012

Well in line at Wake

It is no secret that Wake Forest's offensive line struggled to open up holes for its runners and protect Tanner Price from opposing teams with a strong pass-rush, but the arrival of Zach Gordon will go a long way in improving those areas of concern.

With Cameron Ford and Andrew Parker departing from the program Jim Grobe knew he had a void to fill. At 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds Gordon has the frame to fit in nicely.

"One of the main reasons why they recruited me is they said that in the past they've had some trouble with inline blocking and then blocking the really big-time defensive ends of the ACC, and so he [Steed Lobotzke] said that my ability to catch was great and also my ability to block is what he told me earned me my scholarship," Gordon said.

It is not only his size that makes him a great fit for Wake's offensive schemes, but also his reliable hands. In the run-heavy wing-t offense Carrollton (Ga.) operates he caught 10 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns, which is impressive for a tight end. Rivals.com rates Gordon as a three-star recruit.

Wake Forest's tight ends are used primarily as blockers, but keep the defense honest with their hands for the occasional pass. Ford finished third on the team in touchdown receptions with three.

In high school Gordon's team ran the ball nearly 80-percent of the time, which has given him significant experience in the trenches as a blocker.

"It made catching the ball that much sweeter when you're blocking and blocking and blocking and then you release on a corner route or something, catch a touchdown it really makes it that much more sweeter to finally get your hands on a pigskin," Gordon said. "We ran the ball so much, but that's just what we did. I definitely think it will pay off for me, because I'm so used to being in the trenches and being with the big bruisers down in the middle. It will help me block the big-time players on the defensive line at the next level."

Gordon officially visited Wake the weekend of Jan. 14. As usual for prospects on those trips he spent a significant amount of time with the coaching staff. He enjoyed catching up with his primary recruiter Brian Knorr, and over an hour with Lobotzke talking about his roles as a tight end and how we would factor in schematically into Wake Forest's offense.

"There were so many highlights," Gordon said. "We got to eat with Coach Grobe and a lot of the guys from the coaching staff and players in the presidential suite of the press box, which was great. We got to watch the highlight tape of this past season. Coach Grobe, Coach Lobo and Coach Knorr we just talked a lot about life and a lot about how school was going and how my friends were, how my family was and just how everything was going in my life and just making the transition here shortly from a high school athlete to a college athlete and student. All the coaches have just been tremendous in reaching out to me and my family."

He was hosted by Tommy Bohanon and Colin Summers. Gordon appreciated the way they took the time to give him helpful advice on how to prepare for the difficult transition of the move from high school to college as a student athlete.

"They are both extremely laid back, just really down to earth guys," Gordon said. They're not big-headed. They both played important roles on the team. They are both just as humble as can be. I definitely feel like they kind of gave me their view of the team, and saying that they don't hold any grudges toward anybody on the team. They enjoy their time with everyone that's a part of the football team. They were really informative."

Gordon is looking forward to joining the Deacs. His versatility will enable him to serve not only as a tight end, but also as a pass-catcher and blocker from H-back and fullback depending on formation packages and personnel.

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