W&M Football All-Decade Team: 2010s

Magic Box

The 2010s witnessed Jimmye Laycock’s final seasons with the Green and Gold. [photo via tribeathletics.com]
It was a decade of ups and downs for the Tribe, but one that saw plenty of great talent walk through the storied campus of William & Mary. From Jonathan Grimes to John Carpenter, the Green and Gold fielded its share of talent.

The decade witnessed the end of Head Coach Jimmye Laycock‘s storied career with the Tribe, but also the renewed birth of the program with Head Coach Mike London

It is with great honor we present the William & Mary All-Decade Football Team of the 2010s.

W&M All-Decade Team: 2010s

Steve Cluley was unquestionably the most reliable and consistent QB for the Tribe over the last decade. [photo by Bob Keroack via tribeathletics.com]

Quarterback

Steve Cluley

The absolute, unquestioned #1 QB for the Tribe over the past decade was Steve Cluley. A consistent passer who could also get it done with his legs, Cluley opened up the Green and Gold’s passing game for the first time in many years during his time with the Tribe.

By his junior/senior seasons, the Tribe was seldom, if ever, running plays out from center; instead, Cluley and the rest of the offensive unit ran the majority of plays from the shot gun formation — spreading the Tribe’s playmakers out wide, getting them in space, and letting Cluley pick apart opposing defenses.

When it was all said and done, Cluley finished his career with 35 consecutive starts, which was the most by a Tribe signal caller since David Corley logged 41 straight starts from 1999-02. He finished his career ranked among the program’s top-10 in seven categories: 6th in passing yards (6,864), 6th in total offense (7,128), 4th in passing attempts (959), 3rd in passing completions (577), tied for 5th in completion percentage (60.2), 8th in passing touchdowns (39) and 7th in 200-yard passing performances (16).

Jonathan Grimes will always be remembered as a William & Mary all-time great. [photo via tribeathletics.com]

Running Back

Jonathan Grimes

Others deserving mention: Kendell Anderson, Mikal Abdul-Saboor

The player of the DECADE, forget running back of the decade, was Jonathan Grimes. A stud who played for the Tribe at the beginning of the 2010s would eventually go down as one of the all-time great William & Mary players.

Grimes contributed to the team in just about every way, shape, and form imaginable: he could run and catch the ball, he returned both punts and kicks, and provided invaluable leadership for the Tribe. 

A First-Team All-American, CAA Player of the Year, and the current holder of several all-time stat lines with William & Mary, Grimes’ name can and should be discussed among the William & Mary football program’s all-time greats.

But enough from us, we’ll let his numbers do the talking:

  • W&M’s all-time leading rusher (4,541 yards)
  • W&M’s all-time leader in all-purpose yards (7,955)
  • W&M’s all-time leader in kickoff return yards (2,289)
  • W&M’s all-time leader in rushing attempts (936)
  • Most decorated player in Colonial Athletic Association history with 11 all-conference honors
  • Ranks 3rd on the Colonial Athletic Association’s career all-purpose yards list
  • Ranks 6th on the Colonial Athletic Association’s career rushing yards list
  • Led the nation in all-purpose yards per game as a senior (228.18 yards per game)
Tyler Crist has proven to be an all-around fullback during his time in the ‘Burg. [photo via tribeathletics.com]

Fullback

Tyler Crist

Others deserving mention: Darnell Laws

Crist still has one season left with the Tribe, but he’s already proven himself to be one of the most dynamic fullbacks that the Tribe has ever had. A three-year starter with the Green and Gold, Crist has earned All-CAA honors each of the three seasons he’s played in the ‘Burg.

Involved even more in the rushing attack this season, Crist has expanded his game beyond the “simple” blocking and tackling that fullbacks are typically assigned. And in his final season next year, we fully expect Crist to break beyond his three-time Third-Team All-CAA selection in his senior season.

The 6’3″ 255 pound Gottlieb provided a consistent target for William & Mary quarterbacks throughout his tenure with the Tribe. [photo via tribeathletics.com]

Tight End

Alex Gottlieb

Others deserving mention: Andrew Caskin

Checking in at 6’3″ 255 pounds, Alex Gottlieb not only had the size to make it with the Tribe, but he also had the skill. Finishing his career as a two-time First-Team All-CAA selection, Gottlieb proved himself to be an incredibly reliable option for a talented Tribe team that captured the CAA title in 2010.

Going into his senior year, Gottlieb was a key offensive weapon on a William & Mary team that charged into the season ranked #1 in FCS preseason polls. Unfortunately for the Tribe, the season didn’t turn out the way many had hoped, but Gottlieb still garnered First-Team honors while earning a shot with the Detroit Lions following graduation.

Tre McBride started for W&M as a true freshman, a rarely accomplished feat in and of itself during the Laycock era.

Wide Receiver

Tre McBride, DeVonte Dedmon

The top two receivers for the decade were not only great pass catchers, but they were also great return men. Perhaps that says something about what it takes to be a great receiver in today’s game (read: incredible speed paired with unmatched athleticism) — as both Tre McBride and DeVonte Dedmon proved to be supremely talented players throughout their tenures with the Tribe.

Tre McBride was a a great all-around player; he had the size, speed, hands, and route-running ability to excel at short, medium, and deep routes. He also had the moxie to go up and get the ball, even when (especially when) covered. A 2015 East-West Shrine Game participant to go along with All-America honors and three All-CAA selections, he was also the CAA Special Teams Player of the Year as a kick returner. In all, McBride finished his W&M career ranked 2nd in career receptions at W&M (196), 5th fifth in receiving yards (2,653), 5th in all-purpose yards (4,281), tied for 6th in touchdown catches (19), 5th in kickoff return yards (1,294), and 3rd in 100-yard receiving games (eight).

Not to be outdone, DeVonte Dedmon (who came after McBride), rewrote the Tribe record books in his own right. The diminutive yet speedy Dedmon was a constant threat to blow the top off opposing defenses at any moment — which he often did. Dedmon finished his W&M career with six All-CAA honors, ranking tied for 4th all-time in touchdown catches (20), 5th in kick return yards (1,364), 6th in all-purpose yards (3,825), and 9th in receptions (152). He also ranks just outside the program’s all-time top 10 in receiving yards (2,037).

At 6’7″, Jerry Ugokwe was a towering force throughout his CAA career. [photo via tribeathletics.com]

Offensive Line

Tackle: Chris Durant, Jerry Ugokwe

Guard: Connor Hilland, Matt Crisafi

Center: Andrew Jones

Others deserving mention: James Pagliaro, Mark Williamson

With a combined weight of 1,495 pounds, employees at William & Mary’s Caf had to work overtime to feed our list of all-decade Offensive Line starters. With that being said, one quickly understands a key tenant of success for any offensive line: size. But perhaps just as important, or even more important, for an offensive line is its unity; that’s something that W&M’s O-Line has been known for in years’ past: leadership and unity.

Frequently throughout the decade, William & Mary’s offensive line produced both team captains and all-conference players. Among the five starters listed above, the group earned All-CAA honors 10 times; after we crunch an incredibly complex formula, that comes out to an average of 2 All-Conference honors per starter. Moreover, of the five starters listed above, three were team captains (Connor Hilland, Matt Crisafi, Andrew Jones).

Multiple players from this list earned professional looks at the NFL level, and although none of them are currently playing professionally today, it’s safe to say that the Tribe’s offensive line was a big reason why W&M running backs experienced immense success running the ball over the last decade.

Mike Reilly was a high-motor guy whose ‘never quit’ attitude served the Tribe well throughout the years.

Defensive End

Mike Reilly, Marcus Hyde

As the last decade has seen an exponential rise in quarterback usage, the importance of the defensive end has risen in similarly proportionate fashion. Thankfully for the Tribe, the Green and Gold had some great defensive ends run through over the past decade — especially in Mike Reilly and Marcus Hyde.

A self-proclaimed gym rat, the 6’4″ 240 pound Mike Reilly truly had a motor that didn’t stop; he was relentless in his pursuit of the opposing quarterback on each and every snap. The New Jersey-bred Reilly earned multiple All-America honors following his junior and senior seasons, and finished his career ranked 2nd on W&M’s career sacks list (27). To add color to that statement, Reilly totaled 22.5 sacks during his final two seasons alone – the most ever by a Tribe player during a two-year stretch. In short, more than deserving of this spot on the all-decade team.

Coming just before Reilly and graduating in the earlier part of the decade, Marcus Hyde was another great at the defensive end spot for the Tribe. A two-time Second Team All-CAA selection, Hyde was also part of the William & Mary team that captured a CAA Championship in 2010. In one epic performance his senior season, Hyde was honored as the CAA Defensive Player of the Week after setting a single-game school and CAA Football Era record with five sacks, four of which coming in the first half alone, in a win against 6th-ranked New Hampshire. By the way, that sack total was just one shy of the NCAA record.

Bill Murray helped lead W&M to league high sack totals during his time with the Tribe. [photo via tribeathletics.com]

Defensive Tackle

Bill Murray, Tyler Claytor

Others deserving mention: Isaiah Stephens

Remember when we said above that a key tenant of success for an offensive line is its size? Well, the same could be said for a team’s defensive line, and especially for the defensive tackles who are routinely tasked with going up against behemoths on opposing offensive lines.

The two defensive tackles listed above, Murray and Claytor, combine for 575 pounds; we think it’s safe to say that size is another key component for successful defensive lineman. Murray, who recently played out his senior season in 2019, finished his W&M career as a 2-time Second Team All-CAA selection. The 6’4″ 280 pounder proved himself to be a versatile big man, as he not only was able to stuff the run, but he was also able to get to the quarterback — as well as block kicks. In fact, Murray’s 3 blocked kicks his senior season was good enough to rank #4 in the country. 

Interestingly enough, Tyler Claytor began the tradition of Tribe defensive tackles blocking kicks, as his 4 blocked kicks during his 2015 senior season also tied for #4 in the country. Makes you wonder…what was in the water during these DT meetings in the ‘Burg? Claytor would go on to finish his collegiate career by earning First Team All-CAA honors after a season that saw him lead the team in sacks (4.5) and tackles for loss (9.0).

A two-time team captain, Luke Rhodes was a consistently great linebacker for the Tribe. [photo via tribeathletics.com]

Linebacker

Luke Rhodes, Airek Green, Jabrel Mines

Akin to the offensive line, W&M’s linebacker corps was stacked with talent throughout the 2010s; and again, just like the offensive line, this unit produced several captains. Perhaps most notably among them was Luke Rhodes.

After redshirting, Luke went on to start for four years at the middle linebacker spot. Most impressively, Rhodes was just 1 of 11 players in W&M program history (120+ years) to be selected as a two-time team captain. He garnered three First-Team All-CAA selections and finished his W&M career ranked 5th in school history with 341 tackles.

Opposite Rhodes at W&M was fellow linebacker Airek Green, a stud athlete at the outside linebacker spot. After a move from defensive back to linebacker his freshman year, Green tormented opposing offenses with his off-the-charts athleticism; a pure stat sheet stuffer, he finished his career as a two-time All-CAA selection after garnering over 200 career tackles, 7.5 sacks, and 6 interceptions. 

The precursor to both Rhodes and Green was Jabrel Mines, who played during the first part of the decade, finishing his collegiate career in 2012. Mines ranked 4th, 2nd, and 1st on the team in total tackles during his final three seasons with the Tribe — including an eye popping 109 total tackles his junior season. That 109 mark is interestingly a higher single-season total than either Rhodes or Green ever accumulated in one season.

An athletic freak who was great at both safety and special teams, DHC made some unforgettable moments for fans in the ‘Burg. [photo via tribeathletics.com]

Safety

DeAndre Houston-Carson, Jerome Couplin III

Others deserving mention: Brian Thompson

Over the decade, Jimmye Laycock had a knack for recruiting and developing talented safeties. Interestingly, both DeAndre Houston-Carson and Jerome Couplin III are currently playing professional football: DeAndre Houston-Carson with the NFL’s Chicago Bears and Jerome Couplin III with the XFL’s Los Angeles Wildcats. And it’s well deserved.

DeAndre Houston-Carson, also known as “DHC,” became just the third player in W&M football’s 122-year history to earn consensus First-Team All-America honors. That same year (DHC’s senior season), he was a team captain, leading W&M in tackles (109) and ranking first in the CAA in tackles per game among defensive backs (8.4). All of this was good enough to earn him an invitation to both the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine, which of course led to his gig with the Chicago Bears.

But it wasn’t just DHC who earned AP First-Team All-America honors from the safety spot, as Jerome Couplin III also did it in 2013. That season, his senior year, Couplin III was a team captain; he finished with CAA First-Team honors, ranking 3rd in the conference with 9.1 tackles per game — a figure that ranked first among defensive backs in the CAA. That season he also finished with an incredible 113 total tackles.

B.W. Webb played well at the 2013 East West Shrine Game before being drafted in the 4th round by the Dallas Cowboys.

Cornerback

B.W. Webb, Trey Reed, Corey Parker

If Jonathan Grimes is the top offensive player of the decade, B.W. Webb might just be the program’s top defensive player of the decade. Taken in the 4th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys, B.W. Webb proved his worth to “America’s Team” throughout his time in the ‘Burg.

Webb’s coming out party was in 2009 as the Tribe knocked out in-state “rival” UVA; in that contest, redshirt freshman B.W. Webb finished with an incredible three interceptions. He would go on to complete his W&M career with an insane nine postseason all-conference honors. Not only was he a great corner (11 interceptions in 4 seasons), but he also was a great returner, earning 3 All-CAA honors as a punt returner.

Following Webb’s path years later was both Trey Reed and Corey Parker. The diminutive Reed, listed at 5’8″ 160 pounds, was a team captain his senior year in 2016. But anything Trey “lacked” in size, he more than made up for in speed and athleticism; this was proven by the fact that Trey twice earned Second Team All-CAA honors, totaling 5 interceptions over his last two seasons. 

Corey Parker is another interesting story. Parker played three years at safety before moving over to corner his senior season (2019). Of course, one could argue that he deserves to be treated as a safety, but Parker’s highest All-CAA selection actually came in 2019, when he earned Second Team All-CAA honors playing at corner (after earning Third Team honors his sophomore and junior seasons at safety). In the 2019 season, Parker garnered 80 total tackles and 2 interceptions — proving to be a true all-around athlete that can excel at multiple positions.

A former Virginia Tech transfer, Hunter Windmuller wielded a powerful, game-changing leg for the Tribe.

Punter

Hunter Windmuller 

Despite an injury-laden William & Mary career, the transfer punter from Virginia Tech posted career numbers in both his sophomore and junior years with the Tribe. During his junior year, Windmuller led the CAA in punting average (43.8 yards per punt) en route to earning a First Team All-CAA selection.

It may not be the sexiest position on the field, but there’s absolutely nothing worse than having to punt the ball after a failed third down attempt, only for the ball to travel 30 yards in the air, back into the hands of your opponent. With Windmuller behind the long snapper, the Tribe always knew that it had a great chance to flip the field — and that’s what we’ll remember most about Windmuller’s great talent.

John Carpenter was one of the most consistently accurate kickers for W&M in recent history.

Kicker

John Carpenter

As a sophomore in 2012, John Carpenter was well known as the Tribe’s rugby style punter. But when Carpenter took over field goal kicking duties in 2013, there was no looking back. In that season, his junior year, Carp earned 3rd-Team All-CAA honors after leading the team in scoring with 72 total points. But he wasn’t done yet. Far from it.

His senior year in 2014 would perhaps become the single greatest season for a place kicker in W&M history; that year, he was honored as the CAA Special Teams Player of the Year and chosen as a First Team All-CAA selection. He led the CAA and ranked 3rd nationally in made field goals per game (1.8). His CAA field goal percentage (78.3% on 17-of-23 kicking) and extra point percentage (100% on 24 attempts) also led the CAA.

Most impressively for us is how good a guy Carpenter is; his senior season, he matched with a cancer patient for a bone marrow transplant. Because the match happened during the season, Carpenter chose to forego the final two games of his collegiate career to help save a life. Again, a great kicker, but an even better person — and for that and more, Carpenter is a no-brainer selection for this all-decade team.

With a bevy of players to choose from, Grimes still stood out on top as the #1 returner of the decade.

Punt/Kick Returner

Jonathan Grimes

Others deserving mention: Tre McBride, DeVonte Dedmon, B.W. Webb, Bronson Yoder

We mentioned that Grimes is the player of the decade, right? Not only was he a great running back, but he also was an incredible punt/kick returner. In addition to finishing as W&M’s all-time career rushing leader, Grimes also finished as W&M’s all-time kickoff return yards leader (2,289); he was the CAA Special Teams Player of the Year two years in a row, in both his junior and senior seasons. This guy could do it all, and we’re still amazed at his accomplishments to date.

 

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2 thoughts on “W&M Football All-Decade Team: 2010s

  1. FYI. Bill Murray has 3 blocks in 2018 ( 4th in nation) and 4 blocks in 2019 ( leads the nation) with 10 total career blocks!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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