Today, we continue compiling our list of the greatest W&M football players of all time.
Last week, we released our list of W&M’s greatest Quarterbacks; this week, we turn our attention to Special Teams — including our top Kicker, Punter, and Returners in Tribe history.
Check out the list, and let us know who we missed in the comments! Roll Tribe Roll.
Steve Christie (’90)
excerpt via Peter Kalison ’57 (link):
The Canadian from Hamilton, Ontario, was an elite soccer prospect coming out of high school, but was recruited by W&M because Head Coach Jimmye Laycock saw great potential in him as an “American” footballer.
Christie was not just a clutch placekicker for the Tribe, but also a top Punter and kickoff specialist; he did it all when it came to the kicking game.
A first-team All-American in 1989, Christie was also a three-time first-team All-ECAC placekicker and punter.
He scored a then-record 279 career points, and held school records for field goals (57) and field-goal percentage (68.7).
He still co-holds the Tribe record for longest field goal, with two 53-yarders.
When it was all said and done, Christie would go on to become a Buffalo Bills legend, starting in the Super Bowl alongside NFL Hall of Famers Jim Kelly, Andre Reed, and others.
But when it’s all said and done, he’ll always be remembered as a member of the Green and Gold.
David Miller (’11)
excerpt via Peter Kalison ’57 (link):
Three W&M players — Grimes, Tracy and Lissemore — are, in the writer’s eyes, on a short list of all-time Tribe greats. But there were others on W&M’s 2009 crew who made up what may have been the best William & Mary team since the fabled teams of the 1940s.
They include an All-American punter, David Miller, whose soaring punts kept the opposition constantly deep in their own territory.
Add in a host of All-CAA players in safety David Caldwell, WR DJ McAulay, LB Jake Trantin, QB RJ Archer, placekicker Brian Pate, and a flamboyant true freshman defensive back, B.W. Webb, and the Tribe was a force on a national scale.
[Miller’s senior] season got off to an appropriate start with the team stunning heavily favored Virginia 26-14.
The game was no fluky victory, as W&M outplayed UVA in every category including holding the Cavs to just four first downs in the second half.
Miller’s booming punts kept UVA pinned down deep for much of the game and the Tribe defense forced four Virginia turnovers. Pate’s four field goals set the offense.
That same season that saw the Tribe knock off UVA, Miller earned four All-America Honors — American Football Coaches Association (First Team), Phil Steele (First Team), Associated Press (Second Team), and Sports Network (Third Team).
Miller ranked 7th nationally, averaging 43 yards per punt — a figure that ranked 2nd on W&M’s single-season record list (behind only Mike Leach, who once averaged 44.4; Leach could have claimed our top Punter spot, but we’re treating him as a Tight End in our All-Time selections).
Miller’s senior year, 13 of his punts traveled over 50 yards; he pinned the opposition inside the 20-yard line 12 times.
Suffice to say, Miller was a major reason that the Tribe took home the CAA crown in 2010.
An All-American Punter and two-time 1st-Team All-CAA selection, David Miller is more than deserving of this honor.
Jonathan Grimes (’12), Tre McBride (’15)
With so many storied athletes throughout William & Mary football’s history, there have been several returners who justify this spot.
But to us, two stand out in particular: Jonathan Grimes and Tre McBride.
Grimes is a two-time CAA Special Teams Player of the Year. In fact, he owns three of the top five all-purpose yardage games in school history.
Grimes also holds the school’s all-time total all-purpose yards mark, sitting pretty at an insane 7,955 yards.
Not to be outdone, and coming soon after Grimes was Tre McBride. The speedster, who actually started as a true freshman at the WR spot (very rare in the Laycock era), also earned one CAA Special Teams Player of the Year award.
Known for his blazing speed, McBride shocked and awed at the NFL Combine when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds.
To put the 4.41 time into perspective, Alabama’s top wide receiver that year, Amari Cooper, ran an unofficial 4.42 and the University of Maryland’s speedster, Stefon Diggs, ran an unofficial 4.46 forty yard dash – both checking in just a hint slower than McBride.
Are we surprised that McBride excelled at returning the football at W&M? Certainly not!
7 thoughts on “ALL-TIME W&M FOOTBALL TEAM: SPECIAL TEAMS”
Steve Christie was a no-brainer. What might not be widely known is that Steve is Canadian originally hailing from Ontario. In fact, some of the Tribe’s greatest players have come out of the Great White North. Good stuff. GO TRIBE!
Great trivia, Bull. Thanks for this.
So true regarding impressive Canadians who wore the green and gold along with Steve Christie….namely a guard from Montreal I had the pleasure of playing 4 years with, #52 Graeme Miller
Russ Brown has to be in the punter mix. He also could place kick.
Steve Shull ‘80 on kickoffs. A terror. Went in to play in a Super Bowl with the Miami Dolphins.
The late Steve Libassi ‘80 broke the school record for consecutive extra points during his time at W&M.