Wake Forest Fearsome Threesome
High School Share

Wake Forest Fearsome Threesome

As season openers go, Wake Forest’s Fearsome Threesome of defensive linemen succinctly demonstrated their ability to dominate while playing a 3-4 scheme, especially on a three-and-out series last week at Panther Creek.

The No. 2-ranked Cougars’ trio of college prospects are Dexter Lawrence, a 6-foot-5, 315-pound junior nose tackle; Antwain Terry (6-3, 264), a senior defensive end; and Xach Gill (6-5, 270), sophomore defensive end.

Their three-play rampage early in the fourth quarter:

  • Panther Creek began the series with a first and 10 from its 20-yard line. The trio collapsed the pocket and Lawrence and Terry sacked quarterback Brenden Mengen for a 6-yard loss.
  • On second-and-16, Gill got his hand up in in the passing lane and deflected the ball for an incompletion.
  • On third-and-16, with Lawrence and Gill double-teamed, Terry chased Mengen to the 2-yard line before an offensive lineman grabbed Terry’s jersey to prevent a possible safety. Mengen escaped and completed a 7-yard pass, but a holding flag flew. With no first-down yardage, Wake Forest declined the penalty to force a punt.
“We wanted to dominate,” said Terry of a unit in its second season together after Gill played varsity as a freshman. “Panther Creek is a good team, but we practice hard every week and we were prepared.”

Wake Forest won 23-6 and limited Panther Creek to minus-47 yards rushing and 80 yards total offense.

“They’re experienced from playing together,” Wake Forest head coach Reggie Lucas said, “With them in a 3-4, we can blitz the linebackers and get another defensive back on the field for spread offenses.”

The big man physically and figuratively is the heavyweight in the middle; Lawrence is labeled a 5-star recruit. In the Rivals.com system, his 6.1 rating means he’s among Top 25 players overall in the nation for his class and considered an NFL prospect. Among the Class of 2016 recruits he’s ranked the nation’s No. 1 defensive tackle, nation’s No. 4 player overall and North Carolina’s No. 1 player overall.

But with his partners, he can’t rest on that in practice.

“They push me,” Lawrence said. “Antwaine pushes me in the weight room to get stronger, and they push me in sprints.”

Lawrence’s scholarship offers start with Alabama, continue through the SEC and jump to the Big Ten and ACC. The competition will be stiff for North Carolina, North Carolina State, Duke and Wake Forest to keep him home. Lawrence said his plan is to wait until his senior year to narrow his list of schools or his interest in staying home.

Terry is the sleeper without a ranking or offer, but N.C. State, East Carolina and Virginia are interested.

“Antwain reads the offense as well as anybody I’ve coached,” Lucas said. “At Panther Creek, he was reading the screens as well as the secondary.”

Gill doesn’t have a ranking yet as a Class of 2017 recruit, but N.C. State was the first school to offer. More will follow.

Lucas also credits the technique work of assistants Blake Brooks and Rodney Ray. With big men as teammates, the trio is learning they can’t survive on superior physical ability. That will help with the rite of passage when physical specimen learn the first week of college practice they are no longer in high school.

“It’s good to have guys my size in practice,” Gill said. “They’ve mentored me since I got here. They give me pointers and tell me what I’m doing wrong.”

But don’t try to convince anyone at Panther Creek the Fearsome Threesome made mistakes.

Click her for Wake Forest's Fearsome Threesome http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/08/25/4096160_wake-forests-fearsome-threesome.html?rh=1

-30-

Tom Shanahan

Tom Shanahan

Tom Shanahan is an award-winning sportswriter and the author of "Raye of Light". Tom has also written for the San Diego Union-Tribune, Voice of San Diego, Chargers.com, Rivals.com, and Gameday Central. He has won multiple first-place awards from the San Diego Press Club and first place from the Copley News Service Ring of Truth Awards. The National Football Foundation/San Diego Chapter presented him its Distinguished American Award in 2003 and USA Track and Field’s San Diego Chapter its President’s Award in 2000.

Raye of Light: Jimmy Raye, Duffy Daugherty, the integration of college football and the 1965-66 Michigan State Spartans

By Tom Shanahan; Foreword by Tony Dungy; August Publications

Purchase Raye of Light from Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com or from August Publishing.

Media interviews  | Amazon customer reviews