Wake Forest Dealt Crushing Blow with Leading Rusher Josh Harris Ruled Ineligible

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

2013 is supposed to answer a lot of questions about head coach Jim Grobe and his Wake Forest Demon Deacons football team. The coach who stunned everyone back in 2006 by capturing the ACC Championship with this program needs every bit of help that he can get to bounce back from last year’s 5-7 campaign and get back into bowl contention.

With a total of 15 returning starters, the notion of Wake Forest making back to postseason play seems more than plausible.

But if they’re going to make that a reality, they’re unfortunately going to have to accomplish it without their leading rusher from 2012.

Running back Josh Harris was officially ruled ineligible on Thursday, news that this hopefully-resurgent group did not need to hear. While no official statement from the school has been released, Grobe has alluded to the fact that this ruling does have to do with academics.

There is still hope, however. The school has has asked for a waiver from the NCAA that could restore the back’s eligibility. Within the next few weeks, we should know the outcome of that inquiry.

If the worst case scenario should come of this, it’s not good for the Wake Forest program.

While Harris’ numbers weren’t eye-popping by any means, he was a productive back for the offense. In ’12, he rushed for 608 yards and five touchdowns while sharing time with backfield mate DeAndre Martin. Part of Wake’s growth this year was supposed to be the development of Harris and Martin as a one-two punch to complement Tanner Price at QB.

Now, those duties fall solely on the legs of Martin for the time-being until a ruling comes back, which I’m not sure he can handle all on his own.

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Jack is the ACC College Football Writer for Rant Sports. Follow Jack on Twitter @JackJ14RS

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