Magazine picks W&M football preseason No. 1

  • On top of the worldRunning back Jonathan Grimes (34) led the W&M offense to victory over New Hampshire last Saturday, a win that pushed the Tribe to No. 1 in the Sports Network/Fathead.com top-25 poll.

    Bob Keroack

    On top of the world

Who’s Number 1?

According to one national preseason football publication, it’s William & Mary, that’s who!

With 12 starters returning from last season’s team that advanced to the national semifinals and equaled a school-record with 11 victories, the Tribe has garnered a No. 1 national ranking in Phil Steele’s College Football Preview 2010 preseason poll.

Additionally, junior running back Jonathan Grimes and junior linebacker Jake Trantin earned preseason second-team All-America honors from the publication, while six Tribe players earned preseason all-Colonial Athletic Association accolades.

"Preseason rankings are really just a reflection of what was accomplished last season," stated coach Jimmye Laycock.  "While it is great to be recognized, every team and every year is different.  This year's team is working extremely hard to reach its own potential and stay focused on preparing for the season ahead."

One of the most productive offensive players in the country during the past two seasons, Grimes is coming off an outstanding sophomore season in which he earned first-team all-conference honors after leading the league with 1,294 rushing yards – a figure that ranked eighth nationally and third on W&M’s single-season list. The Palmyra, N.J., native also led the CAA and ranked 13th nationally with 145.9 all-purpose yards per game, as he hauled in 46 passes for 289 yards.

In addition to becoming the fastest player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards – reaching the milestone in just 13 games – Grimes will enter his junior season with 2,223 career rushing yards, already 10th on the program’s all-time list.

A starter during each of the past two seasons, Trantin will enter the fall as a team captain and one of the country’s top defensive players. A second-team all-conference linebacker in 2009, he led the team with 90 tackles while adding 2½ sacks, 10 tackles for loss, three interceptions, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and three pass breakups. One of his best efforts came in a season-opening 26-14 victory at the University of Virginia when he totaled 11 tackles, one sack, two tackles for losses, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

In addition to Grimes and Trantin, senior defensive tackle Mike Stover, sophomore cornerback B.W. Webb and junior punter David Miller earned preseason first-team all-conference honors. Webb also earned second-team all-league honors as a return specialist, while senior offensive lineman Keith Hill garnered second-team honors.

W&M will kick off the 2010 season when it plays at Massachusetts on Sept. 4. The contest, which will carried live by Comcast Network Mid-Atlantic and Philadelphia as well as Comcast SportsNet New England, will be one of the Tribe’s five regular-season games scheduled to be televised.