If Wake Forest is going to rebound from its two year slump and become an ACC title contender again, it will be with a Florida kid at the helm. Freshman Kevin Sousa is reportedly on the Winston-Salem campus and getting to know his new teammates while working out in preparation for fall practice.
Watch the video and see why some analysts compare him to Tyrod Taylor -- though Sousa is bigger and can abuse defenders instead of executing a safe slide. He also has a howitzer of an arm and plenty of speed. We got the impression of a slightly shorter E.J. Manuel, though Sousa may still be growing.
It's the same video that caught the eyes of coaches from Michigan, Miami and bigger name schools than Wake Forest. In fact, Sousa committed to the Wolverines before a late switch to the Deacons.
But how much of a shot does he have at playing time in his first year?
All the 2011 previews tout Tanner Price as Wake's starting QB, and the analysts -- as well as his coaches -- expect big improvements over last year's rocky debut. Price took a lot of hits while passing for 1,349 yards and seven touchdowns against 8 interceptions. Behind him is junior Ted Stachitas, whose claim to fame is succeeding Tim Tebow at Nease High School.
Price and Stachitas should also have the advantage of playing behind an offensive line that won't get them killed (only one starter lost from 2010), as well as giving them more time to actually get a pass off. And besides, Deacs Coach Jim Grobe is notorious for redshirting freshmen, no matter how many recruiting stars they boast.
So three-star Kevin Sousa has virtually zero chance of deviling the Noles when they travel to Winston-Salem on October 8th, right?
Don't bet your Bowden-autographed souvenirs. If Deacs QB Coach Tommy Elrod can begin to shape Sousa's raw talent, the youngster might leave Grobe no option but to play him. If not by the FSU game, likely by late season, when Wake fans need to see rays of hope for the future.
One person who expects him to play is Sousa himself. He sent the following Tebow-like vow to Wake beat writer Dan Collins (full story here):
“From the moment I step foot on campus, my goal is to work harder then any other QB to ever put on a Wake Forest jersey. God has blessed me with this great opportunity and I am going to make those that have helped me on this journey, my family, Coach (Anthony) Paradiso, my coaching staff, my teammates, the student body, the faculty and the entire Wake Forest alumni proud..."
Confidence, talent, and the smarts to qualify at Wake. They all add up to future trouble for FSU and the ACC. Especially if the Deacs can build a strong supporting cast around Sousa, like the one that teamed with Riley Skinner to win a league title not that many years ago.