Over the past several weeks, we’ve created our “All-Time William & Mary Football Team.”
Most recently, we released our list of W&M’s greatest Defensive Backs; throughout these articles, we’ve assembled players we deem to be the “Starters” of a hypothetical All-Time W&M team.
Here’s how the team looks, shown in depth chart format:
Now THAT would be a great team in its own right. But with 100+ years of football under William & Mary’s belt, we know there are many more players worthy of this list.
And that’s why we’ve compiled our All-Time team’s extended roster. Check it out below, and let us know in the comments who else you think we missed! Roll Tribe Roll.
All-Time W&M Football Team:
Michael “Pinball” Clemons ’87 (RB)
“A first-team All-America honoree at W&M, Clemons recorded two of the most outstanding seasons in school history by totaling 3,833 all-purpose yards during his final campaigns in 1985-86.
Additionally, he finished his collegiate career as the Tribe’s career record holder in both all-purpose yards (4,448) and rushing touchdowns (20) – figures that continue to ranks among the program’s all-time top-10 lists.
After a brief career in the National Football League with the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Clemons joined the Toronto Argonauts where he went on to help the organization win three Grey Cup Championships (1991, 1996, 1997) as a player en route to becoming pro football’s all-time record holder for career all-purpose yards (25,483)”
Harry Mehre ’89 (WR)
Still holds the 3rd-most receiving touchdowns in William & Mary history (26), trailing only Rich Musinski (31) and Dave Conklin (27). Also ranks #4 in all-time receiving yards (2,747) — again, only behind Musinski (#1), Conklin (#2), and Rosier (#3).
“Considered one of the most feared receivers in Division I-AA by The Sporting News, Harry Mehre made his mark on collegiate football in an ‘unassuming manner.’ He was a fast runner whose style was different from what people are used to because he appears to not be running hard when he’s actually blasting across the field at 4.5 seconds per 40 yards.
William & Mary’s arch rival, James Madison University Coach Joe Purzycki, said the 6-foot, 180-pound Mehre requires one and one half men on him from the opposition. ‘Mehre’s presence is enough,’ he said.”
John Cannon ’82 (DE)
David Knight ’73 (WR)
Knight starred on W&M teams at a time when Lou Holtz coached the Tribe.
Following his W&M career, Knight was drafted by the New York Jets; he played 5 total seasons in the Big Apple, catching passes from the famed Joe Namath.
Derek Fitzgerald ’96 (RB)
Bob Solderitch ’86 (C)
“While earning his B.A. in economics, Solderitch was a three-year starter at center for the Tribe, earning all-state and All-East Coast Athletic Conference honors during his junior and senior seasons.
In 1985, he was named team captain and won the Tribe’s Outstanding Lineman award. In 1990, he was named to William & Mary’s 100 Years All-Time squad.
Solderitch returned to Williamsburg for good prior to the 1996 season to coach the W&M offensive line and eventually assumed the duties of Assistant Head Coach in 2000.
During his time as an assistant, he helped six Tribe standouts garner All-America honors.
In all, Solderitch led 25 players to earn 34 all-conference awards on his watch, including eight all-league selections during the last three seasons.”
Jake Phillips ’09 (QB)
Dwight Beard ’03 (OT)
“One of the Tribe’s all-time greatest offensive linemen, Dwight Beard was a two-time All-American before graduating in 2003.
He made 41 career starts, including all 12 games while leading W&M to the Atlantic 10 title and the NCAA playoffs in 2001.
He was named honorable-mention All-America by the Football Gazette that season, and followed up as team captain in 2002 by earning first-team All-America honors from the AFCA.
He consistently graded out as the Green and Gold’s top lineman in 2002, leading an offense that averaged more than 30 points and nearly 400 yards per game.
Also a two-time Atlantic-10 first-teamer, Beard was invited to the Rotary Gridiron Classic in 2003.”
Jim Ryan ’79 (LB)
Joe Montgomery ’74 (C)
“‘Going to play at W&M was the best decision of my life’, reflected Montgomery, ‘This University has played a major part in my career success, and I owe it much. Playing for Coach Holtz was a transformative experience.
He was meticulous, he knew everything about you, he made you believe you were better and could do better.“
William & Mary played a challenging schedule in that era, going up against major programs like North Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest. Holtz’s teams, while not compiling winning records, held their own.
Individually, Montgomery more than held his own. A two-time first-team All-Southern Conference and Big Five selection at center, he culminated his collegiate career serving as the team’s co-captain for the 1973 season, earning All-American recognition from multiple publications (Football News and AP Honorable Mention), All-East recognition, and runner-up consideration for the Jacob’s Blocking Trophy.
His efforts that season helped pay dividends in the win column as the team’s 6-5 record marked the Tribe’s first winning ledger in six years.”
Charlie Sumner ’54 (S)
Buddy Lex ’50 (QB)
“Earned All-America honors in 1949 after helping W&M earn wins against Houston, Virginia Tech, Arkansas and N.C. State … Totaled 1,736 yards of total offense as a senior, which ranked second nationally … Starred at tailback for the Tribe in the single-wing offense … He was a triple-threat, in that he also played quarterback and punter for the Tribe … Averaged nearly 40 yards per punt during his William and Mary career … Passed for a record-setting 1,325 yards and 18 touchdowns, while scoring three on the ground … He was responsible for 153 of the teams 256 points scored.”
Ed Weber ’52 (FB)
Raheem Walker ’01 (DT)
“Raheem Walker was named to 1st team All-American honors; Walker, recorded 106 total tackles on the 2000 season (51 solo) and four sacks (-23 yards).
A 1st team all-conference selection in both his junior and senior years, Walker’s tackle total was tops among Atlantic 10 Conference’s down-lineman.
His season’s totals were made even more impressive by the fact that he made a complete recovery after missing nearly the entire 1999 season due to a severe knee injury (suffered in the first quarter of the Tribe’s opener at Delaware).
By being named Captain for both the 1999 and 2000 seasons, Walker became the first two-year Captain of the Tribe program since John Todd held the post on consecutive seasons in 1923 and 1924.”
Troy Keen ’96 (RB)
Mike Cook ’99 (QB)
“Garnered second-team All-America honors from three organizations as a senior … Finished career with 7,295 passing yards, 7,245 total yards and 62 touchdown passes (a school record at the time).”
Chris Hakel ’92 (QB)
“Hakel set a William & Mary single season record for passing yardage with 3,414 yards in 1990. He was the only I-AA Quarterback to be nominated for the 1991 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. His play was instrumental in William & Mary’s nation-leading total offense in 1990.”
Jerome Couplin III ’14 (S)
“One of the nation’s elite defensive backs for the Tribe, Couplin earned first-team All-America honors by the Associated Press, the Sports Network and the Walter Camp Football Foundation as a senior.
Couplin, a team captain, led the Colonial Athletic Association and ranked 10th nationally with 5.8 solo tackles per game in 2013. Additionally, the Upper Marlboro, Md., native ranked third in the CAA with 9.4 tackles per game – a figure that led the league among defensive backs.
In addition to leading the team with 113 tackles (70 solo) during his final season in Williamsburg, the two-time All-CAA honoree recorded two forced fumbles, 2.5 tackles for a loss, six PBU’s and two forced fumbles as a senior. Couplin also returned a fumble 51 yards for a touchdown in the win at Delaware en route to earning CAA Defensive Player of the Week honors.
A three-year starter, Couplin finished his career with 257 total tackles (158 solo), five interceptions, 21 passes defended, five forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and 4.5 tackles for a loss.”
Luke Cullinane ’98 (DE)
“Earned third-team All-America honors from the Associated Press in 1997.”
Craig Staub ’93 (DT)
“A four-year letterman at William & Mary, defensive tackle Craig Staub helped the Tribe to a 34-14 record, two Division I-AA Playoff appearances and a 35-19 victory in the 1993 Epson Ivy Bowl.
A co-captain of the 1993 team, he earned First Team All-Yankee Conference, All-ECAC and All-America honors and was named the Yankee Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
Staub ranks fourth in career sacks and was inducted into the William & Mary Athletics Hall of Fame in 2005. A two-time Academic All-American, he compiled a 3.6 GPA in economics. Staub also earned his master’s in public policy from William & Mary.”
DeVonte Dedmon ’19 (WR)
“One of the best receivers in school history … Finished his career with six postseason All-CAA honors, earning the distinction as a wide receiver three times … Ranks tied for fourth all-time at W&M in touchdown catches (20), fifth in kick return yards (1,364), sixth in all-purpose yards (3,825) and ninth in receptions (152) … Also ranked just outside the program’s all-time top 10 in receiving yards (2,037) …”
Jerry Ugokwe ’17 (OT)
“Two-time All-CAA selection … Four-year starter who finished his career with 42 career starts … Posted seven starts at left tackle as a redshirt freshman before closing his career with 35 consecutive starts at right tackle …”