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Wake Forest Football: Transfer Portal Tracker

With the end of the regular season, several Deacons are set to leave Winston-Salem

With the end of the Wake Forest football season come and gone, players within the program have begun to declare for the transfer portal, including one of the biggest portal names in all of college football, QB Sam Hartman.

As of today, 11 Demon Deacons have entered the portal, with five already finding new homes.

Follow along below for up to date information on who is departing Winston-Salem.

READ: Wake Forest Football - Update on departing transfer offers

READ: Scholarship Update and Team Needs



WR Walker Merrill

Commitment: Jan. 12

Previous School: Tennessee

Walker Merrill, a rising junior wide receiver from the University of Tennessee, committed to Wake Forest through the transfer portal Thursday, per an announcement on the team's Twitter account.

This past season, Merrill caught eight passes with the Volunteers for 116 yards and three touchdowns. He also had five receptions as a true freshman in 2021.

Merrill's Pro Football Focus receiving grade was 73.9, fourth-best on the team. He also was also second for the Vols in drop grade, only failing to catch one pass all season.

According to PFF, Merrill appears to more of an outside receiver. Of his 31 snaps in 2022, only one came in the slot.

A former high-four-star recruit (.897 per 247Sports), Merrill was rated as a consensus top 10 player from the state of Tennessee. He held offers out of high school from top-tier programs such as Auburn, LSU, Penn State, Ole Miss, South Carolina and Texas A&M. Merrill also held an offer from Wake Forest.

Merrill has two remaining years of eligibility, and will replace the WR role left by A.T. Perry declaring for the NFL Draft. 

DL Bryce Ganious

Commitment: Jan. 6 

Previous School: Villanova

In his two years with the Wildcats, Ganious registered 58 tackles, 10 TFLs, four sacks and three forced fumbles.

This past season, the rising junior played in all 11 games for Villanova, setting a career high in tackles with 36. He also starred with seven tackles against Army.

Per his Twitter, Ganious held other portal offers from Idaho, Arkansas State and Tennessee State. He has two remaining years of eligibility.

LB Jacob Roberts

Commitment: Jan. 5

Previous School: North Carolina A&T

Roberts played in all 11 games for the Aggies in 2022, recording 72 tackles and 5.5 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery. In pass coverage, he knocked down five passes and added two interceptions, both of which were returned for touchdowns.

In his three season career with NC A&T, Roberts notched 218 total tackles, 29.5 TFLs, 9.5 sacks and five interceptions.



QB Sam Hartman

Entered transfer portal: Dec. 27

Commitment: Notre Dame, Jan. 5

Just days after Wake Forest’s 27-17 win over Missouri in the Gasparilla Bowl, Deacons’ quarterback Sam Hartman entered his name in the transfer portal.

In his five-year career at Wake Forest, Hartman has thrown for 12,967 yards and 110 touchdowns. His passing yardage places him second in ACC history, only trailing Philip Rivers, and he is now the all-time ACC leader in passing touchdowns. Hartman also added 855 yards and 17 touchdowns on the ground.

Last season, with a combined 50 touchdowns, which is tied for second in ACC history, Hartman led Wake Forest to an 11-3 record and their first ACC Championship appearance since 2006. Additionally, the Deacons reached a No. 10 rank in the AP Poll, their highest in program history.

2022 has been an up-and-down year for Hartman, especially considering his off the field injury that threatened his season. In early August, the redshirt junior was diagnosed with Paget-Schroetter Syndrome, a blood clot that puts pressure in the veins near his heart. As a result, Hartman had two surgeries, which kept him off the field for roughly a month.

Hartman joins the Irish for his final year in college football.


DL Rondell Bothroyd

Entered transfer portal: Dec. 26

Commitment: Oklahoma, Jan. 8

After five seasons in Winston-Salem, defensive end Rondell Bothroyd has entered the NCAA Transfer Portal and committed to the Oklahoma Sooners. He has one season of eligibility remaining. The announcement came via Twitter Sunday night.

As a Demon Deacon, Bothroyd registered 136 tackles, 30.5 tackles for loss, and 16.5 sacks. He also forced four fumbles and defended three passes. The redshirt junior from Manchester, CT also served as a team captain in 2022. Bothroyd received All-ACC honorable mention honors for his performance this past season.

RB Quinton Cooley

Entered transfer portal: Dec. 6

Commitment: Liberty, Dec. 21

Making it a back-to-back two days day of hits for the running back room, Cooley announced he would be leaving Winston-Salem. As the third running back for Wake Forest, the sophomore rushed 47 times for 215 yards this season (4.6 ypc), while reaching the end zone three times. He scampered for a career-high 57 yards against Vanderbilt in September.

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With Turner entering the portal, Cooley perhaps had an opportunity to take over the 1B role with starter Justice Ellison, especially considering his ability to churn through the line of scrimmage.

Cooley took part in Wake Forest's 27-17 victory over Missouri in the Gasparilla Bowl, rushing four times for 31 yards. He joins the Flames with two remaining years of eligibility.


RB Christian Turner

Entered transfer portal: Dec. 5

Commitment: Indiana, Jan. 6

Other than Hartman, this is the most notable loss for the Deacs from the offense. Turner was listed as a co-starter at halfback with Justice Ellison this year, finishing the regular season with 516 yards and seven TDs on 128 carries (4.0 ypc). He totaled 1,022 rushing yards and 12 TDs in his two seasons as a Demon Deacon. This is Turner's second time entering the portal, as he transferred to Wake Forest from Michigan prior to the 2021 season.

Turner joins the Hoosiers with one year of eligibility remaining.

DB J.J. Roberts

Entered transfer portal: Dec. 3

Commitment: Marshall, Dec. 20

With Roberts' transfer, two cornerbacks that played significant snaps this season will be leaving Winston-Salem. After playing in all 14 games last season, registering an interception, Roberts notched 20 tackles and six pass breakups. He allowed 21 receptions and four touchdowns on 33 targets for a 55.6 Pro Football Focus grade.

Roberts joins the Herd with two remaining years of eligibility.

DB Gavin Holmes

Entered transfer portal: Dec. 1

Commitment: Texas, Dec. 21

Holmes, a starter at cornerback for much of the season, surprisingly elected to enter the transfer portal. In 11 games this season, Holmes notched 23 tackles and nine pass break ups. According to Pro Football Focus, the sophomore was the third-best Demon Deacon corner in pass coverage with a 67.7 score. Holmes allowed 20 receptions and three touchdowns on 43 targets.

He also had a pick-six in 2020 against Syracuse.

Holmes will have two remaining years of eligibility with the Longhorns.

OT Thomas Grippo

Entered transfer portal: Nov. 30

Commitment: Lafayette, Jan. 9

A third-year redshirt freshman, Grippo was not listed on this season’s two-deep depth chart, but was expected to make a push for playing time next season. After not playing in 2020, Grippo saw the field in four games in 2021, including 20 special-teams snaps against Duke. This year, Grippo also played in four games.

Grippo will have three remaining years of eligibility with the Leopards.

WR Dez Williams

Entered transfer portal: Nov. 30

Commitment: Unannounced

After making his career debut against Norfolk State last season, registering one catch, Williams did not play in any games this year. Like Hensley, Williams is another case of being stuck behind Wake Forest’s incredible depth at WR.

He will now look to the transfer portal with three remaining years of eligibility.

WR Zavier Simpson

Entered transfer portal: Nov. 30

Commitment: Ball State; Jan. 13

Simpson made his career debut last season against Old Dominion, playing four snaps. He has not seen game action for Wake Forest since then.

Simpson has three remaining years of eligibility.

QB Brett Griffis

Entered transfer portal: Nov. 28

Commitment: James Madison, Dec. 18

Griffis, the fourth-string quarterback this season, leaves Wake Forest after one year in Winston-Salem. The younger brother of Mitch Griffis, who started in place of Sam Hartman against VMI, Griffis did not see any action this season. Regardless, he has been hailed by the football staff as one of the most valuable members of the scout team, and one of the best scout quarterbacks the program has seen.

In his senior season at Broad Run High School (VA), Griffis led the team to a region championship with 3,053 passing yards, 1,117 rushing and 52 combined touchdowns.

Griffis will have four remaining years of eligibility with the Dukes

WR Jackson Hensley

Entered transfer portal: Nov. 28

Commitment: Eastern Kentucky, Dec. 26

A former preferred walk-on, Hensley broke through this season as a member of the second team at wide receiver. He saw action in four games in 2021, registering a career-high 20 snaps against Duke, and fielding a punt vs Norfolk State. This season, Hensley played in all 12 games, mainly on special teams, but grabbed his first collegiate reception for 15 yards in the team’s loss to Louisville.

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