Tebow’s prep successor poised to start at Wake

Ted Stachitas doesn’t want to be known only for the quarterbacks
he’s replaced. That’s not easy when one of them is Tim Tebow.

After taking over for Tebow in high school, Stachitas now is
poised to succeed record-breaking Riley Skinner as the man under
center for Wake Forest.

”I’m used to everyone’s expectations …. and all the
questions, the doubts,” Stachitas said Tuesday.

So instead of merely being recognized as somebody’s replacement,
the redshirt sophomore is looking to create an identity of his own
– starting Thursday night when the Demon Deacons open against
Presbyterian.

That will mark his first start since he was at Nease High School
in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., in 2007, the year after he inherited
Tebow’s job. He led Nease to consecutive Florida Class 4A
championship games in both years as the starter despite what he
said was a prevailing opinion that ”people didn’t really think we
could duplicate what he did with the team.”

Meanwhile, down the road in Gainesville, Tebow blossomed into
one of the sport’s most heralded figures while winning two national
championships, two Southeastern Conference titles and a Heisman
Trophy.

Nobody’s expecting that kind of production from Stachitas, who
has a different style than Tebow but a similar habit – a knack for
tucking the ball under and running when he needs a yard or two.

That skill could make Stachitas, who rushed for 845 yards and 15
touchdowns as a high school senior, a valuable weapon for a Wake
Forest team looking to re-establish its ground game after the
Skinner-led offense wound up throwing more often than coach Jim
Grobe perhaps was comfortable with.

Teammates say they have something else in common:
Intangibles.

They describe Stachitas as more soft-spoken and not as reliant
on rah-rah techniques as Tebow is. But they insist he still shows
just as much leadership.

”Tim and Ted were similar in the fact that, if they … didn’t
find a wide receiver, they were able to run the ball,” said Wake
Forest linebacker Hunter Haynes, a teammate of both at Nease. ”Tim
was a little bit different – he was more of a fullback running the
ball, and Ted was faster. You do see a little bit of influence from
Tim on Ted … (but) he kind of developed into his own leader and
was a different player than Tim.”

Stachitas’ next task is only slightly less daunting – taking
over for the holder of just about every significant passing record
in the Wake Forest media guide.

Skinner may have thrown for 9,762 yards and 60 touchdowns in his
career, but Stachitas has his eye on another of his marks – his 32
victories as a starter.

”I’m not worried about any of Riley’s records or what he’s done
here,” Stachitas said. ”He did great, and I respect everything
that he did here, but I’m worried about getting wins for our
team.”

Stachitas played a handful of snaps as a third-stringer last
season but has yet to attempt a pass in a game. He wasn’t even on
the depth chart after spring, but played his way into the starting
role with consistent play throughout preseason camp, Grobe
said.

”We really wanted to make sure that we made our quarterback
earn it,” Grobe said. ”We didn’t just want to flip the coin at
the end of practice and find out who it’s going to be. From Day 1,
we started charting these guys on a lot of things … and Ted’s
just accumulated a lead on the other guys, (and) that makes him
deserving of being the quarterback. Now, the next step is, he’s got
to go out Thursday night and prove we made the right
decision.”