By now you’ve probably heard: we at the W&M Sports Blog are compiling a list of the greatest W&M football players of all time.
Last week, we released our top-3 running backs, and top fullback. This week, we turn our attention to the wide receivers — listing our top-6 all time.
With former Head Coach Jimmye Laycock known as a quarterback guru, it is perhaps unsurprising that this entire list of players comes from Laycock’s tenure — minus one.
Check it out, and let us know who we missed in the comments! Roll Tribe Roll.
Dominique Thompson (’05)
Peter Kalison (’57):
All-time W&M QB Lang Campbell was not a one-man show, not nearly.
He had great receivers in the remarkable Dominique Thompson and stellar freshman Joe Nicholas.
By nearly every standard, Thompson had what can only be described as the best single season ever for a Tribe wide out, as he amassed 1,585 receiving yards on 79 catches for 13 TDs.
All of this was accomplished and he didn’t even become a starter until an injury at wide out moved him into a starring role by the season’s third game.
Rich Musinski (’04)
Peter Kalison (’57):
Recruited out of West Pittston, Pa., “Mush” Musinski stood 6-1, 195 pounds, with good, but not unusual speed.
The secret lay in his hands — great big hands (10 ½ inches from thumb to pinky) that footballs just stuck to — and in his ability to run precise routes. These attributes made Musinski W&M’s most prolific pass receiver.
Musinski was very consistent and often played through injuries, but he played every game like it was for the championship.
When he wasn’t catching passes he was a devastating downfield blocker and, at times, played on special teams.
He holds almost every Tribe receiving record: 223 career catches, 4,168 yards, 31 touchdowns, and most receptions in a game – 13.
He helped win a huge 45-42 game against Delaware in 2002 with 194 receiving yards, including nine first-down receptions and the winning touchdown when everyone in Zable Stadium knew quarterback David Corley was passing to him.
He graduated third in all-time I-AA receiving yards, and he was a 2003 first-team All-American.
He was also first-team All-Atlantic 10 three seasons in a row and was A-10 Rookie of the Year his first season.
Tre McBride (’15)
via tribeathletics.com (link):
McBride finished his collegiate career ranked second at W&M in career receptions (196), fifth in receiving yards (2,653), tied for sixth in touchdown catches (19), fifth in all-purpose yards (4,281) and fifth in kickoff return yards (1,294).
One of the nation’s most dynamic collegiate players during his time at W&M (2011-14), McBride participated in the East-West Shrine Game and NFL Scouting Combine.
In addition to earning all-conference honors three times, McBride garnered All-America distinction as a junior.
As a senior, he ranked second in the Colonial Athletic Association with 131.2 all-purpose yards per game and ranked fourth in both receptions per game (5.8) and receiving yards per game (73.5).
Additionally, the McDonough, Ga., native finished the 2014 season with 64 catches for 809 yards and four touchdowns.
Dave Conklin (’99)
via the Daily Press (link):
He made 27 touchdown catches (#2 all-time) at William and Mary. He gained 3,269 career yards (#2 all-time). And to top it all off, he finished with 190 career receptions (#3 all-time).
“I think I’ve done things more quietly than anything,” Conklin said. “I’m definitely not a flashy player.”
What he did was rewrite the school’s record books for receivers. Conklin made more catches and more touchdown catches than anybody else who had worn a William and Mary uniform [up through 1999].
And he did it in a way that was the opposite of ostentatious.
A 5-foot-10, 180-pound native of Bloomingdale, NJ, the biggest difference between when he arrived and [his senior year]?
“I became a smarter player as I got older,” he said. “I [was] able to read coverages better and find holes. If I [ran] a pattern, I [knew] exactly where I’m going to be when I’m open.”
Vito Ragazzo (’51)
via tribeathletics.com (link):
Vito Ragazzo (#28 above) earned Second Team UP All-America honors as an end in 1949 after helping W&M post wins against Houston, Virginia Tech, Arkansas and N.C. State.
Now, imagine beating those teams in today’s day and age? It was just as impressive then as it is today.
Ragazzo recorded 15 touchdown receptions during his senior season in 1949. This record still stands as the W&M single-season record.
That same season, Ragazzo led the nation (remember, there was no FCS at the time — everyone was equal) with 793 receiving yards, a national record at the time.
Will anyone be able to top Ragazzo’s record? Others on this list have come close — namely Dominique Thompson (13) and Rich Musinski (12), but neither have succeeded. Maybe one day!
Mike Tomlin (’95)
In an interview, Tomlin reminisced about his days in the ‘Burg,
“On a day-to-day basis, [William & Mary is] a proving ground. I think that’s why so many young people that come to this university and through this athletic department are successful in whatever they choose to do.”
During his illustrious career with the Tribe, Tomlin was a three-year starter at wide receiver, donning the number 4.
He would go on to become an all-time great, finishing his career with 101 receptions, 2,046 yards, and 20 touchdown receptions.
In fact, his 20 career touchdown receptions still ranks 4th all-time in William & Mary program history. Impressive, given today’s pass-heavy offenses.
Tomlin was also named co-captain his senior season (1994), earning First-Team All-Yankee Conference honors that same year.
And oh, by the way, Tomlin still holds the W&M mark for most yards per catch at 20.1 yards.