Kamara and Deacons ‘ready to go’ when season begins

Sulaiman Kamara

Kamara and Deacons ‘ready to go’ when season begins
July 08
14:17 2020

Sulaiman Kamara had his best season on the field a year ago as a redshirt junior, as he started eight games and totaled 25 tackles, 1.5 tackles-for-loss and one forced fumble. 

Despite going through Senior Day recognition against Duke last fall, Kamara decided to return for one last season in the Old Gold & Black in 2020. Of course, he had no clue at the time he and his teammates would have to vacate campus after just five spring camp practices and endure a global pandemic that has changed the landscape of collegiate athletics. 

“I was looking forward to a spring season,” Kamara said. “I wanted to finish out strong with my boys, so I could have this last year of everything being whole. I certainly didn’t expect the pandemic to break out. I would say it’s been kind of tough, not being able to see the guys every day and build that team chemistry. That’s the worst thing for me. 

“We have these young guys coming in, and the coaching staff was relying on me to be a leader and show them the ropes. It’s hard to do that when everybody is so far away.”

All seven players who earned starts on the Wake Forest defensive line last season returned, giving the Deacs one of the deepest and talented fronts in the Atlantic Coast Conference.  

“I feel like since I’ve been here, this might be the most-talented defensive line we’ve had,” Kamara said. “If everybody comes back strong from this pandemic and all the craziness in the world, and has done what they were supposed to do, our group can really take off. We can set a new standard for the team and for the Wake Forest program. 

“Boogie (Basham) and I want to go out as being with one of the best defensive lines ever at Wake Forest. We want people to put respect on our name. We want our opponents to know that when they play us, they have to face a formidable defensive line. We’re trying our best to get the young guys going and keep everyone on the same page.”

There’s also the belief that if Kamara has a strong redshirt senior campaign, building on what he did as a redshirt junior, that perhaps he could parlay that into an opportunity to play professionally. 

“That’s always been my dream, to make it to the next level and play in the NFL,” Kamara explained. “I had to give myself a chance. I had a pretty decent season last year, and I want to improve on that. 

“Wake Forest football is a brotherhood. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. We will never get this time back. The camaraderie in our locker room is special. It puts a smile on my face. You get that warm feeling being with the guys. There’s this tight bond. It’s like a family. I wanted another year to finish out with a bang with my boys.” 

Kamara has lived with Basham off campus in recent months, and has had to become creative in his effort to find places to workout and stay in shape. 

“We’ve been having Zoom meetings,” he said about staying in touch with the rest of the defensive line. “Boogie and I have been in Winston most of the time. Occasionally, we’ll make calls with other players on the defensive line, making sure they’re in a safe spot and they will be ready when the time comes to return. 

“We work out at whatever fields we can get to. We found a friend with some weights, but continued to stay safe.”

Wake Forest Coach Dave Clawson has said in recent days that the discipline and intellect of the players in the football program will help them navigate these strange times in a way that will lead to success in the 2020 season. If that’s the case, the Deacs could go bowling for a program-record fifth-straight season. 

“You guys are in for a surprise,” Kamara said. “We’re going to bring it all to the table. All the guys who have been here the longest on the defense are going to try to do something really big this year. We’re going to do whatever we need to do to get to the top. 

“Just because we’ve been on this break, doesn’t mean we’ve been slacking. We’re ready to go.” 

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