CHARLOTTE — Be it his size or style, Cam Serigne may have finally struck the ideal balance.
A 220-pound, pass-catching tight end when he enrolled at Wake Forest in 2013, Serigne now takes pride in his blocking. Weight gain consumed many of his offseasons, but he has been able to concentrate on other areas this summer after reaching 255 pounds — and perhaps being even a little too heavy for coach Dave Clawson’s liking — as a redshirt junior.
“This has been the best offseason I’ve had in my life,” Serigne said Thursday at the annual ACC Football Kickoff. “It’s the first year where Coach told me, ‘No more gaining weight. You’re at a good weight, just focus on being the best football player possible.’”
Entering his fourth season as a starter, Serigne has 130 career catches for 1,519 yards and 12 touchdowns, a Wake record for tight ends. He is one of five players still in the program from former head coach Jim Grobe’s final season.
The reception and touchdown count has dropped each year for Serigne, going from 54 catches and five touchdowns as a redshirt freshman to 30 catches and three scores last year, but he has become more of a complete player.
“His first two years for us, he was a receiver playing tight end and put up numbers and got open, but he was not a good point-of-attack blocker or couldn’t hold up in protection,” Clawson said. “I think that frustrated him and he almost overcompensated with ‘I need to get bigger. I need to get stronger.’ He just put on too much weight too quickly.”
Serigne developed a hamstring problem in fall camp last year and was never completely healthy during the 2016 regular season.
He had a season-high six catches for 49 yards and a touchdown in the post-Thanksgiving finale against Boston College and hauled in three passes for a season-high 68 yards and a score a month later, when the Deacons beat Temple in the Military Bowl.
“It didn’t go away until the last full week, basically,” Serigne said of the nagging hamstring issue. “I had to do more of a blocking role than I would have otherwise because I couldn’t open up fully. This year, I’m not having to worry about gaining weight. I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been, running faster than I’ve ever run and am the strongest I’ve ever been.”
The 6-foot-3 Serigne is now listed at 245 pounds, 10 less than his 2016 weight, thanks to an overhauled diet heavy on green vegetables, brown rice and grilled chicken.
Facing explosive defensive ends in an Atlantic Division with talent-laden frontrunners Clemson, Florida State and Louisville, Wake Forest often has needed to make more of an effort to protect its quarterbacks. With more of a run-centric approach against Clemson, Louisville and even Coastal Division opponent Duke last season, Serigne spoke fondly about his experiences trying to create running room for the Deacons’ backs.
“You almost find more pride in that because you’re doing it with some brothers, five of your guys, and I call myself a sixth man on the O-line,” Serigne said.
That emphasis has trickled down from the top, as Clawson would have Serigne participate in blocking drills for inside zone runs every day instead of joining the receivers to practice one-on-one routes against defenders.
“It’s been a journey,” Serigne said. “Receiving is the fun part, but I’ve learned to love blocking too, which is a cool thing. ... Everybody would be doing one-on-ones, but I’d be doing inside run drills with the O-line. It’s something that’s built me into being a better player, so I appreciate that now.”