Magic Box

D Line

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 Special Teams players; this week, we turn our attention to the Defensive Line — including our top Defensive Ends and Defensive Tackles in Tribe history.

Check out the list, and let us know who we missed in the comments! Roll Tribe Roll.


Adrian Tracy (’10)

Tracy’s collegiate stats really do speak for themselves:

  • Finished career with a school-record 31 all-time sacks, which ranked third among all active players in the nation at the conclusion of the season
  • Finished his career with 62.5 tackles for a loss, a figure that led the nation among all active players at the conclusion of the season
  • Started every game of his career, 47, which established a school record

His senior year alone:

  • Served as a team captain
  • Garnered All-America honors from five organizations, including the Associated Press, College Sporting News, Sports Network, American Football Coaches Association and Walter Camp 
  • Named to the All-CAA First Team for the second consecutive season 
  • Equaled a single-season school record with 12 sacks
  • Ranked seventh nationally with 1.57 tackles for a loss per game and 15th with 0.79 sacks per game
  • Ranked sixth in the conference in tackles among defensive linemen with 5.6 per game

Need we write any more?

We’ll leave you with a quote from NFL Hall of Famer Gil Brandt, who spent 30 years as the Cowboys’ VP of Player Personnel, and had this to say about Tracy when he entered the NFL Draft:

“He’s smart, instinctive, competes well versus the run and the pass, has good lateral pursuit, had outstanding production.”

Still playing professionally at 32 years old, the Fairfax, VA native is currently a member of the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes.

Mike Reilly (’15)

excerpts via (link):

One of the nation’s top defensive ends his senior year, Reilly garnered All-America honors from the Associated Press.

In addition to the All-America distinction, Reilly was chosen as the 2014 Colonial Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Year.

He ranked 2nd in the CAA with 11.0 sacks his that season – a figure that put him #3 on W&M’s all-time single-season sack list.

Reilly’s complete stats his senior year included 41 tackles, 12.0 TFL, eight quarterback hurries, two PBU, a forced fumble, and a block.

His 22.5 sacks during [over his final] two seasons are the most in school history during a two-year span; when it was all said and done, he finished his career with an incredible 27 sacks, 2nd all-time at W&M — behind only, you guessed it, Adrian Tracy.


Sean Lissemore (’10)

excerpts via W&M News (link):

Lissemore was a four-year contributor on the defensive front for the College, but saved his best overall performance for last.

Earning 1st-Team All-CAA honors, he posted 66 tackles (14 for loss), 2 interceptions, 4 quarterback hurries, 4 passes defensed and one blocked kick, all while starting 14 games.

Playing alongside Adrian Tracy, Lissemore contributed to a defense that allowed:

  • Just 61 rushing yards per game (1stin the nation)
  • 229 offensive yards per game (2nd nationally)
  • 12 points per game (2nd nationally)
  • 3.43 sacks per game (3rd nationally)

And that produced:

  • 8 tackles for loss per game (8th nationally)
  • 27 turnovers (13th nationally)
  • 28.1% conversion rate on 3rd down opportunities

It’s safe to say that Lissemore (and Tracy’s) performance on the defensive line led to some absolutely incredible numbers; it’s also safe to say that we may never again see a W&M defense of this caliber in our lifetimes.

Following his time in the ‘Burg, Lissemore found himself taken in the 2010 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. He would go on to play in the NFL for 6 years.

Bill Murray (’20)

excerpts via (link):

A 1st-Team Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) All-America selection by Hero Sports, Murray posted an outstanding senior season in which he ranked 1st among all Division I players (FCS and FBS) with four blocked kicks.

What?! Yes, you read that correctly: Four. Blocked. Kicks. In one season. It’s a testament to the athletic prowess that Murray flashed throughout his four years in Williamsburg.

A two-time All-Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) selection, Murray, a team captain, also led W&M with 11.5 TFL and 6.0 sacks in 2019.

One of the best players in school history, Murray’s overall career stats include:

  • 10 blocks (still don’t understand how this is possible)
  • 19 sacks
  • 32 tackles for loss
  • 143 tackles
  • Four forced fumbles
  • Two fumble recoveries

At time time of publication, Murray is a member of the New England Patriots — attempting to crack the team’s 53-man roster.


  1. What a bunch of studs. No black and white photos necessary. These guys could’ve played in the SEC.

  2. John Cannon? 6’5” 280 ZERO fat. Played for Bucs several years. Great Tampa Bay humanitarian.

    1. Good point, Tim. Remember when we were frosh and had to try and block him on Scout Team? Was drafted in 3rd round by Tampa Bay and played 9 years in NFL. I caught up with him a few years later while living in Atlanta…he was 280lbs and shredded. Heard that he’s competed in Iron Man triathlons in recent years.

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