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John Wolford to get first NFL start
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John Wolford to get first NFL start

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Wake Forest isn’t exactly “Quarterback U,” but it’s a start.

John Wolford, one of the program's best, will start for the first time for the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals after Jared Goff underwent thumb surgery on Monday. Wolford, 25, started at Wake for four seasons.

The Rams can clinch a playoff spot with a win.

“If you know John, he’s prepared every week like he is the starting quarterback,” Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson said. “He’s very smart and he knew at some point this opportunity would come whether it was eight weeks ago, two weeks ago or three years from now.”

Wolford will be the second former Deacon to start under center this season, although in different circumstances than the Broncos' Kendall Hinton. The former wide receiver and quarterback at Wake Forest was thrust into the starting spot when COVID-19 issues knocked out all three Broncos quarterbacks in November.

Wolford, who spent last season on the Rams' practice squad, is second in school history with 8,899 passing yards and third with 52 touchdown passes. He was second-team All-ACC his senior season in 2017 but went undrafted.

Wolford played eight games in the Alliance of American Football League in 2018 for the Arizona Hotshots and threw 14 touchdown passes. The league has folded, and Wolford signed as a free agent with the Rams before the 2019 season.

Clawson said he’s texted Wolford but doesn’t expect to hear a reply because Wolford is so consumed with game preparation.

“John is one of my all-time favorite players,” Clawson said. “In a lot of ways, he represents all the best about Wake Forest. Under-recruited, under-sized and didn’t have immediate success but through perseverance, courage, will, smarts made him one of the very best quarterbacks in the ACC…. I know John is ready.”

Wake quarterback Sam Hartman added: “It’s always cool see guys before you have success at the next level, and I’m excited for him. I know he’s going to make the most of it, and I can’t wait to watch him perform.”

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@johndellWSJ

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