Our guest picker this week is the great Ryan Janvion, who starred at safety for Wake Forest for four years from 2013 through 2016, finishing his career with 328 tackles. These days, Janvion is a real estate broker in Boston, where he also serves as a consultant for a global education company that helps high school teachers develop educational travel programs for students. And, of course, he’s one of the Hall of Fame good interviews in recent ACC history. We talked with Ryan about this week’s showdown between Wake and BC.
Q. What’s it like, having been through the really lean years, to see where Wake is right now?
A. It’s incredible. You look, for me, literally coming in for the downfall, and having to live through going 3-9 back to back, I was fortunate to at least go to a bowl game. To look now and see my team on Saturday, and I know all the work they put in, I can know I had an impact on bringing the program back to where now we’re a challenger in the ACC.
Q. I’m not sure how much of the Clemson-A&M game you watched last week, but what do you think of the job your former DC, Mike Elko, is doing for the Aggies?
A. He’s the best coach I’ve ever had, and he’s probably the best coordinator in college football right now. Everywhere he’s gone, he’s done an incredible job. He did great at Notre Dame, and I think he’s going to do amazing things at Texas A&M. The defense he runs is pretty technical, so it takes a little time to master it. But when they get it, they’ll be a top defense, for sure.
Q. You live in Boston now, so I’m guessing you’ve seen a little of Boston College. What do you think of the matchup this week?
A. They’re definitely very improved. They’ve got probably one of the best running backs in college football in A.J. Dillon. He’s playing with confidence, and BC is known for just ground and pound. They’re hitting their stride. They’ve looked great the first two weeks. This will be their first test, and it’s going to be a tough game. People would’ve looked at this game a few years ago and said that it’s not a great game. But now, with these two programs that have done a great job of improving, it’s going to be a great matchup.
Q. As a defender, what’s it like trying to tackle a guy the size of A.J. Dillon?
A. What makes him different is he has a very low center of gravity. Some of the guys that are big, they run fairly high, so it can be easy to tackle them. With him, he continues to drive his legs after contact and he does so well at dropping his weight, which makes him so hard to bring down. And he’s got great speed, so he’s not just a ground and pound back. He can separate from defenders. And if you add that to the offensive line they have at BC, they play nasty football. They pin their ears back and play downhill football. Obviously the key to Wake Forest being able to win is being able to stop that run game and make them rely on the pass game.
Q. You played with John Wolford when he was thrown into the fire as a true freshman QB at Wake. Sam Hartman is doing that now. What do you think of how he’s handled himself?
A. He’s done good. I’ve talked to a few guys on the team and they’ve had nothing but good things to say. They say he’s thrown the best balls throughout camp and he’s been playing confident. The difference between him and John, John didn’t have a lot of weapons around him. Sam is able to step into an established, winning culture with guys making plays around him. You’ve got Greg Dortch, Alex Bachman, Cade Carney and Matt Colburn and Phil Haynes. I think Sam’s going to do a great job. Making those decisions on when to make a play or throw the ball away, that’ll come with time. But he’s a good QB, throws good balls, and for the most part, he’s making good decisions.
Q. OK, decision time: What’s your prediction for the game?
A. Personally, I’m predicting Wake Forest to win, but I think it’s going to be a high scoring game. I think I’m going 36-32 Wake Forest.
Last week’s picks:
Hale – 11-3
Andrea – 10-4
Jared Shanker – 10-4