Wake Forest clinched the ACC Atlantic title on Saturday with a blowout win over Boston College.

The victory secured a 7-1 regular season in conference play, marking the first time the Demon Deacons have ever won 7 conference games in a single year.

It’s Wake Forest’s second appearance in the ACC Championship Game and its first since 2006. This is also Wake’s second 10-win season in program history.

And the program did all that despite not having much success on the recruiting trail.

Here’s Wake Forest’s last five recruiting class rankings, per 247Sports Composite rankings:

  • 2021: No. 66 nationally, No. 14 ACC
  • 2020: No. 60 nationally, No. 11 ACC
  • 2019: No. 59 nationally, No. 12 ACC
  • 2018: No. 64 nationally, No. 13 ACC
  • 2017: No. 68 nationally, No. 14 ACC

That makes Wake Forest a serious outlier when it comes to having power conference success. It’s also a big reason why the program was so eager to extend coach Dave Clawson earlier this week. He’s the first Wake Forest coach since the 1930s to post a winning record for his career.

Instead of relying on raw talent, Clawson and his staff have done an excellent job of developing the players they’re able to get on campus. Quarterback Sam Hartman was a 3-star prospect who was ranked outside the top 700 in the class of 2018. Star receiver A.T. Perry was ranked outside the top 1,400 in the same class.

Wake Forest was victorious in its other appearance in the ACC title game. The Demon Deacons defeated Georgia Tech 9-6 in 2006. That was the last ACC Championship Game that did not feature Clemson, Florida State or Virginia Tech.

The ACC champ isn’t expected to figure into the College Football Playoff discussion this season, but the winner of that game will receive a berth in the Orange Bowl.