Wake Forest gets some fresh blood in the quarterback room as Jeremy Hecklinski officially signs with the Demon Deacons.
His arrival has been greatly anticipated since he verbally committed to Wake about a year ago. Hecklinski led Walton High School in Marietta, GA to a 14-1 record this past season. He was second in the state in passing yards with 3,835. He had a 64% completion rate as a senior and threw 50 touchdown passes against six interceptions.
Hecklinski has added about 10 pounds since his commitment to Wake last December, putting him at 6-0, 185 pounds. The 247Sports composite rankings put him as a three-star recruit. In Walton’s one loss of the season in the state playoffs, he struggled going 11 of 25 for 124 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions.
Hecklinski is a pro-style quarterback with better-than-average mobility rolling out of the pocket. His throwing motion is decidedly over-the-top and he has strong downfield capabilities with good accuracy. Because of his ability, compared to other quarterbacks in the league, he tends to thread passes into tight spaces with reasonable accuracy.
The quarterback position has been an open-ended question for the Demon Deacons since the end of the 2023 season. At the end of the 2022 season head coach Dave Clawson ordained fourth-year reserve Mitch Griffis as the heir to Sam Hartman at the position. But Griffis struggled early and often in games. He was pulled at Virginia Tech in favor of Michael Kern. But Kern injured his shoulder late in that game. Clawson went to third-string quarterback Santino Marucci in the win at home over Pitt. It was Kern’s job again at the end of the season as soon as he was medically cleared.
Clawson made it clear at the end of the 4-8 2023 season that there would be an open quarterback competition in Spring camp for the upcoming season. Griffis and Marucci have since gone into the transfer portal.
Looking to Spring
Kern will be returning for the Deacs. Clawson also did some transfer portal shopping of his own. He brought in Hank Bachmeier from Louisiana Tech for a sixth season of college football, (he used his redshirt year with an injury in 2022). Bachmeier was at Boise State for the previous four years. He is 6-1, 220 pounds with a big arm.
His peak season was in 2021 with the Broncos when he threw for 3,079, 20 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. His touchdown: interception ratio tends to run high as he has carried a bit of a gunslinger aura onto the field.
Wake Forest also returns Charlie Gilliam who was a highly regarded recruit for the 2023 class. He did not break the top three rotation in his freshman year, but with an open Spring competition, could put himself in the mix.
Clawson leans toward having years to develop players before they are ready to start. It didn’t pan out with Griffis. His most experienced player within the Deacs system is clearly Kern, but you generally don’t go into the portal for a seasoned veteran like Bachmeier if he is not going to have a legitimate shot at starting. That would buy a year for the development of Gilliam and Hecklinski.
Barring any early signing period surprises, Wake will have the 54th-ranked recruiting class. That is up from 67th in the 2023 class. That would be them 12th in the 17-team ACC.