Hank Bachmeier Finally Gets Power Five Chance at Wake Forest

    After transferring to Wake Forest, former Boise State and Louisiana Tech QB Hank Bachmeier is in position to prove himself at the Power Five level.

    The Wake Forest Demon Deacons had something of a down year in 2023. As the program looks to bounce back from one of the worst seasons in the Dave Clawson era, they’re turning to a quarterback who has spent his entire career bouncing back.

    For much of his college football journey, Hank Bachmeier has had to pick himself up and dust himself off, his capability and potential frustratingly and routinely battered out of him behind substandard offensive line play.

    Now, with his transfer to Wake Forest, Bachmeier has the opportunity to prove himself at the Power Five level.

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    Hank Bachmeier Finally Gets Power Five Chance at Wake Forest

    After spending four years with the Boise State Broncos and the 2023 college football campaign with the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, former four-star quarterback Bachmeier announced his commitment to Wake Forest on Dec. 10. Highly talented and as resilient as they come, the new Demon Deacons quarterback has battled significant adversity to get his opportunity in the ACC.

    Bachmeier’s journey to Winston-Salem has been almost as long and arduous as the distance between his hometown of Murrieta, CA and the Wake Forest campus. It’s almost 2,500 miles across the country to make that trip, and it feels like the new Demon Deacons quarterback has had an injury, taken a sack, overcome an obstacle, and been required a bounce back for each mile.

    Like his rugged refusal to be defeated, there is no doubting the talent that Bachmeier possesses. With his transfer to Wake Forest — the second time testing the transfer portal waters in his college football career — he’s banking on his sixth year being the one where everything aligns, where he can finally flourish, and where he can complete a full season for just the second time in five attempts.

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    His appearance in the ACC for the final year of his college football career has something of a symmetry to it for Bachmeier. While his transfer to Wake Forest allows him to showcase his ability at the Power Five level, it was against competition from the conference where the former Boise State quarterback established himself as one of the nation’s best.

    Aug. 31, 2019. There are dates in every person’s life that help define them and contribute to their legacy. For new Wake Forest quarterback Bachmeier, Aug. 31, 2019, is one of those dates. It was on that day, on his Boise State debut, where Bachmeier established himself as the next coming of Kellen Moore or Brett Rypien, guiding the Broncos to a marquee win over Florida State.

    It was in many respects a microcosm of Bachmeier’s entire career to date. There was the high-level arm talent and an uncanny ability of a true freshman to stand firm in the face of pressure, reading a defense with the aplomb of a veteran while delivering on-time and on-target throws with regularity. He threw for 407 passing yards in his college football debut.

    There was the toughness, the resilience, the physicality, that has framed his entire college football journey. In that one game alone, he was sacked five times while being hit again and again as he attempted to unleash the ball. The pressure was unrelenting, but so was Bachmeier’s ability to bounce back.

    The following week against Marshall, ESPN2 released a graphic stating Bachmeier had been hit almost as many times in that one game as New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees had in the prior NFL season. We’ve seen many quarterbacks simply wilt and fade away from such a barrage, but not the then-Boise State freshman. He was, and is, simply “built different.”

    “He’s tough,” the Boise State offensive coordinator at the time, Zak Hill, told The Athletic in the wake of the FSU game. “Got a hit a number of times today and I’d get on the phone with him between series and it was nothing but ‘Coach, we’ve got to score, just keep calling them, let’s go, we’re going to score’…What a gutsy performance for him in his first game.”

    It’s easy to believe that Bachmeier was simply handed the starting job at Boise State in 2019. However, this isn’t a program renowned for starting a first-year player under center. When the former Murrietta Valley High School standout took those snaps against FSU, he joined an elite group of one — Brett Rypien — former Broncos QB to start in the FBS as a true freshman.

    “When it was all said and done, Hank put himself in this position. Hank earned it,” former Boise State head coach Harsin told The Athletic when naming the starter in 2019.

    “It wasn’t given to him. It wasn’t because of (anything else). He earned it. He made throws, he completed passes, he did things in the pocket and he made decisions out there that we want to see. Whether it’s a freshman or a senior, it doesn’t matter. Those are things we were looking for at that position.”

    Bachmeier earned the starting job in 2019 and earned the respect of his teammates at the same time. Former Boise State WR CT Thomas praised “the maturity you don’t usually see in such a young quarterback” while praising his attitude of wanting to be better, ultimately wanting “to be the guy” for the Broncos.

    Even someone with the talent, physicality, and desire that Bachmeier showcased during his time at Boise State and Louisiana Tech can’t overcome the barrage of assaults that he has taken during his career completely, however.

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    He has been the guy at both programs but ultimately his battered body has succumbed to injuries in more than one of his five seasons. The mental toll sometimes translated to his play, as Bachmeier himself admitted during an interview with Hero Sports following his transfer to Louisiana Tech for the 2023 season.

    “I wasn’t really playing great. Mentally, I wasn’t in the best place. Just wanted to reset.”

    “It’s just the quarterback position, man. It’s a tough badge to wear. It really took a toll on me. You put all of your value and self-worth in how you are as a player, and when you’re playing great, everybody loves you. For me, it was really hard because that reward system of being a quarterback and not necessarily knowing what your value was was tough for me.”

    That reset, that bounce back, wasn’t without its ups and downs with the Bulldogs. Bachmeier chose Louisiana Tech partly to be closer to family, a large driving factor in all of his decision-making but also because “I wanted to play in the Air Raid and in a pass-friendly offense” under head coach Sonny Cumbie.

    Yet, further injury and an offense that hasn’t sparked under Cumbie led to Bachmeier playing in just nine games. In that span, he threw only 10 touchdown passes while averaging 7.7 yards per pass attempt for 2,058 yards in 2023. The now-experienced quarterback did complete a career-high 67.7% of his passes this year, more than any Wake Forest quarterback.

    Despite the less-than-stellar statistics and the time lost to injury, there were still signs of the high-level ability that made Bachmeier a four-star recruit in the 2019 class during his single season in Ruston. The toughness to stand firm in the pocket, the arm talent, the creativity, his tape is still riddled with those characteristics of top-tier quarterback play.

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    Those traits are what make Bachmeier an alluring proposition for Wake Forest. He might not be your traditional smaller school transfer portal target who turns gaudy production into a Power Five opportunity. In reality, he’s ascending to the level that could have began his college football career.

    “I had Pac-12, Big Ten, and SEC offers but that didn’t matter to me,” Bachmeier told 247Sports at the time of his commitment to the Broncos before adding “Boise State is a power program that can compete with anyone.”

    That was over five and a half years ago, but as he prepares for his sixth and final season in college football, Bachmeier is ready for one more bounce back and finally in a position to prove himself at the Power Five level with the Demon Deacons.

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