WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – William & Mary head football coach Jimmye Laycock has announced the Tribe’s 2017 signing class, which includes 14 student-athletes who have signed National Letters of Intent and one mid-year enrollee.
“We are excited to welcome this 15-member class into our W&M Football family,” stated Laycock, who is starting his 38thseason with the program this fall. “We had some needs along both lines of scrimmage and we addressed them by signing five lineman. Overall, our staff did an excellent job of identifying prospects early, which allowed us a good deal of time to create strong relationships and I think the results will speak for themselves in the years to come.”
The incoming class is comprised of players from five states. In addition to seven signees from Virginia, the class also includes players from North Carolina (4), Maryland (2), Georgia (1) and Pennsylvania (1).
Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown/High School
Nygil Dalton DB 5-11 181 Lexington, N.C./North Davidson HS
Nate Evans RB 5-10 190 Mechanicsville, Va./Lee-Davis HS
Carl Fowler DL 6-4 242 Durham, N.C./Northern Durham HS
Riley Fox LB 6-0 210 Salem, Va./Salem HS
Griffin Gilder OL 6-4 280 Alpharetta, Ga./Blessed Trinity Catholic HS
Jarrett Heckert LB 6-3 209 Annapolis, Md./Annapolis Area Christian School
Gage Herdman DB 6-3 195 Leesburg, Va./Flint Hill School
Will Kiely DL 6-3 260 Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown East HS
Clint Marshall OL 6-3 300 Chesapeake, Va./Western Branch HS
Shon Mitchell QB 6-0 180 Chesapeake, Va./Oscar Smith HS
Nick Muse TE 6-5 235 Belmont, N.C./South Point HS
Lachlan Pitts TE 6-6 245 Great Falls, Va./Langley HS
Bryden Reed DL 6-3 235 Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Christian School
Amonyae Watson WR 6-1 174 Newport News, Va./Heritage HS
Owen Wright RB 5-10 199 Bethesda, Md./Georgetown Prep
Lexington, N.C./North Davidson High School
Head Coach: Mark Holcomb
What Dalton brings to the Tribe: “Nygil brings a high level of athleticism to the Tribe. He is quick, explosive and is a playmaker both with and without the ball in his hands.”
Prep: Three-year letterwinner as a defensive back, running back, quarterback and wide receiver for head coach Mark Holcomb at North Davidson High School … Finished his career ranked second on the program’s all-time list for receptions (96) and receiving yards (2,116) … Also ranks third in career interceptions (14) … Three-time All-County selection (2014-16) … Two-time all-conference honoree (2015-16) … Chosen as the 2015 Special Teams Player of the Year … Personal:Son of Jeremy and Leigh Michelle Dalton … Father played football and Western Carolina … Mom played basketball at Winston-Salem State … Enjoys reading and writing poetry, and occasionally cooking.
Mechanicsville, Va./Lee-Davis High School
Head Coach: Ryan Turnage
What Evans brings to the Tribe: “Nate has great versatility. Not only does he have the quickness, burst and speed to create the big play out of the backfield, but he can catch the ball naturally. For an “undersized” back, he has the ability to be a physical runner. He is a “football guy” and shows a great passion for the game.”
Prep: Four-year letterwinner as a running back and defensive back for head coach Ryan Turnage at Lee-Davis High School … Three-year team captain … Finished his career with more than 4,000 all-purpose yards and a school-record 56 touchdowns … Ranks fifth in school history with 3,466 career rushing yards … Senior season stats included more than 500 receiving yards … Earned second-team all-state honors as a running back in 2016 … Also garnered first-team all-region and all-conference distinction as a running back as a senior … Named first-team All-Metro and honorable mention all-conference “utility” in 2016 … Junior year accolades included being named first-team All-Metro, second-team all-region and first-team all-conference as a running back … Tabbed honorable mention all-conference as a running back and linebacker in 2014 … Three-time All-Academic selection … Wendy’s High School Heisman Winner … Chosen as team’s MVP as a senior … Ranked as the nation’s No. 33 best all-purpose back prospect by 247Sports … Personal: Son of Dave Fose and Brandi Evans-Fose … Enjoys music and shoes.
Durham, N.C./Northern Durham High School
Head Coach: RJ Wilson
What Fowler brings to the Tribe: “Carl is a long, athletic, physical football player who runs well, which gives him the ability to get off blockers and close in on ball carriers.”
Prep: Four-year letterwinner as a defensive end, outside linebacker and tight end for head coach RJ Wilson at Northern Durham High School … Invited to play in the Blue-Grey All-American Game … Also an East-West All-Star Game invite … Earned all-conference honors as a sophomore and junior … All-Metro team selection … Three-year letterwinner in baseball as a pitcher and an outfielder and earned all-conference distinction … Earned Peer Mediation Award … Member of Church Youth Group … Personal: Son of Don Fowler and Lauren Holahan … Father played baseball at Duke and signed with the Baltimore Orioles … Mother played volleyball at Duke … Enjoys weight lifting.
Salem, Va./Salem High School
Head Coach: Steve Magenbauer
What Fox brings to the Tribe: “Riley is a smart, versatile player and a physical tackler. He comes from a very successful program and has been a vital part of consecutive state championships playing both offense and defense.”
Prep: Three-year letterwinner as a linebacker and fullback for head coach Steve Magenbauer at Salem High School … Named the VHSL Virginia 4A Defensive Player of the Year as a senior after totaling a team-high 109 tackles … Two-time VHSL 4A first-team all-state selection (2015, 2016) … USA Today All-State choice … Honored as the 2016 Roanoke All-Timesland Defensive Player of the Year … Two-time All-Timesland first-team selection … Named the 2015 VHSL 4A West Defensive Player of the Year … Two-time team captain who led SHS to back-to-back Virginia 4A State Championships (2015, 2016) … Finished his career with more than 300 tackles and 25 touchdowns … Rushed for more than 700 yards with 16 touchdowns as a senior … Posted the game-winning score in the 2016 state championship … Three-year letterwinner as a third baseman in baseball and earned all-conference accolades … Served as the National Honor Society Secretary … Member of the Spanish Honor Society … Superintendent Advisory Council member to City of Salem … Earned the Bill Bolton Athletic Character Award … Active member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and First United Methodist Church in Salem, Va. … Personal: Son of Rich and Jennifer Fox … Father played football at Virginia Tech (1985-89) … Brother, Coleman, plays football at Virginia Tech … Enjoys fishing, swimming and volunteering at City of Salem Recreation Department.
Alpharetta, Ga./Blessed Trinity Catholic High School
Head Coach: Tim McFarlin
What Gilder brings to the Tribe: “Griffin is a smart lineman with good feet and long arms who projects as a good tackle prospect. He comes from the same high school – and is in the same mold – as former W&M All-American Matt Crisafi.”
Prep: Three-year letterwinner as a right guard, right tackle and left tackle for head coach Tim McFarlin at Blessed Trinity Catholic High School … Earned second-team all-region honors as a senior … Also lettered three years with track and field as a thrower (shot put) … Placed fifth in the state in shot put in 2016 … Earned Eagle Scout distinction with the Boy Scouts of America … Personal: Son of … Jeff and Genie Gilder … Enjoys playing basketball, hunting and boating.
Annapolis, Md./Annapolis Area Christian School
Head Coach: Mike Lynn
What Heckert brings to the Tribe: “Jarrett has a very impressive work ethic and can play in and out of the box. He brings an infectious intensity to the defensive unit.”
Prep: Four-year letterwinner as a linebacker, defensive end, tight end, wide receiver and fullback for head coach Mike Lynn at Annapolis Area Christian School … Named first-team all-state by USA Today after averaging 9.2 tackles per game as a senior … Maryland Crab Bowl selection … O-D All-America honoree … Two-time MIAA All-Conference choice … Also garnered first-team All-Anne Arundel County distinction … Two-year team captain … Helped team claim the MIAA Conference title as a junior … Finished his career with more than 230 tackles and 33 TFLs … Set a single-season school record with 929 receiving yards as a junior … Finished his career with more than 1,500 career receiving yards … Three-year letterwinner as a forward with the basketball team and served as a captain during his senior year … Served as Head of Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) at AACS … Elected Athletic Prefect by the student body … Earned the Dick Bitzer Bible Award, Unseen Art Award, and Leadership Through Athletics Award … Volunteered with the Walk the Walk Foundation and Operation Christmas Child … Participated on a mission trip to Jamaica … Personal: Son of Brad and Dianne Heckert … Father, Brad, played basketball at the University of Delaware (1983-87) … Enjoys lifting weights, boating, wakeboarding and fishing.
Leesburg, Va./Flint Hill School
Head Coach: Tom Verbanic
What Herdman brings to the Tribe: “Gage has the size and athleticism to be a standout player for the Tribe! He plays with an edge and has a knack for making big plays on both sides of the ball.”
Prep: Four-year letterwinner as a safety, linebacker, wide receiver, quarterback, tight end, kick returner and punt returner for head coach Tom Verbanic at Flint Hill School … Earned first-team all-state honors as a linebacker in 2016 … Also earned All-Met Honorable Mention distinction as a linebacker as a senior … Two-time second-team all-state selection as a wide receiver (2015, 2016) … Garnered all-conference honors as a linebacker and wide receiver his final two seasons … Led FHS to the state semifinals three times (2013, 2015, 2016) … Helped team win two conference titles (2013, 2015) … Served as a team captain in 2016 … Finished his career with 127 tackles, seven interceptions, 10 sacks and five fumble recoveries … Also totaled 67 career catches for 1,034 yards with 12 touchdown receptions … Lettered three seasons in basketball and served as a team captain as a senior … Served as Co-Leader of the Haiti Club … Member of the Spanish Honor Society, Young Republicans Club, Best Buddies Club and Huskies with HeART … Personal: Son of Kirk and Jane Herdman … Brother, Cole, plays tight end at Purdue … Enjoys action movies, golfing and fishing … Interests include cars, technology, politics and business.
Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown East High School
Head Coach: Mike Matta
What Kiely brings to the Tribe: “Will is a big, physical and athletic football player. He shows the physicality to get off blocks in the run game. He also has the burst to rush the quarterback in the pass game.”
Prep: Three-year letterwinner as a defensive lineman for head coach Mike Matta at Downingtown East High School … Earned second-team all-state honors as a senior after totaling a team-high 80 tackles with 12 sacks and 36 TFL … Named first-team All-Southeast Pennsylvania in 2016 after garnering third-team distinction as a junior … Selected first-team All-Area as a senior … Two-time first-team All-Chesmont selection (2015, 2016) … Tabbed the 2016 Chesmont Defensive Player of the Year … Garnered second-team All-Eastern Pennsylvania in 2016 … Recorded a team-high 12 sacks with seven PBUs as a junior … Earn Honor Roll accolades … Alumnus of People-to-People International … Raised money for local charities through an entrepreneurial club … Served as a sales leader in the Cougar Club … Traveled to Europe to support cross-cultural connections with individuals around the world … Personal: Son of Jeff and Brenda Kiely … Father played and coached football at Franklin Marshall College … Brother, Dan, played football at Misericordia University … Brother, Jeff, played football at West Chester University … Enjoys bowling, skiing, fishing and traveling.
Chesapeake, Va./Western Branch High School
Head Coach: Greg Gibson
What Marshall brings to the Tribe: “Clint is a strong, physical lineman who can run well. He’s a local prospect from Chesapeake who comes from one of the area’s top programs (Western Branch).”
Prep: Four-year letterwinner as an offensive lineman for head coach Greg Gibson at Western Branch High School … Earned first-team all-conference honors as a senior after garnering second-team distinction as a junior … Second-team all-region and all-Tidewater selection in 2016 … Also lettered on the track and field team as a shot put thrower … Personal: Son of Bud and Vicki Marshall … Enjoys cooking.
Chesapeake, Va./Oscar Smith High School
Head Coach: Richard Morgan/Bill Dee
What Mitchell brings to the Tribe: “Shon is the most highly decorated quarterback in VHSL history. He displays great poise and leadership and has played in big games throughout his career. He’s a natural leader who loves the game – he’s a winner.”
Prep: One of the most prolific quarterbacks in Virginia High School League (VHSL) history as a record-setting standout for head coaches Richard Morgan and Bill Dee at Oscar Smith High School … Four-year starter who posted a 52-6 record … Finished his career as the VHSL all-time leader for career passing yards (11,380), touchdown passes (123) and completions (747) … Two-time first-team all-state selection … Honored as the 2016 All-State Offensive Player of the Year after passing for 3,338 yards … His 232 completions as a senior ranks tied for the ninth-best single-season total in VHSL history … Garnered second-team All-USA Virginia Football Team distinction … Selected as the 2016 All-Region and All-Conference Offensive Player of the Year … Three-time All-Region selection (2014-16) … Earned All-Tidewater and All-Conference honors all four years … Selected as a MaxPreps First-Team All-American in 2014 … Personal: Son of Shon Mitchell I and Marie Mitchell … Father played football at the University of Nebraska at Omaha for two years … Enjoys fishing, reading, practicing religion and watching movies.
Belmont, N.C./South Point High School
Head Coach: Mickey Lineberger
What Muse brings to the Tribe: “Nick brings versatility and athleticism to the Tribe. He has outstanding ball skills and the ability to run after the catch. As an outstanding linebacker in high school, Nick’s football IQ showed well and will help him at the college level. Nick has the skill set to line up all over the field.”
Prep: Four-year letterwinner as a tight end and linebacker for head coach Mickey Lineberger… Two-time Gaston Gazette Defensive Player of the Year (2015, 2016) … Two-time all-conference selection … Selected second-team All-Charlotte Observer as a senior after totaling 165 tackles, as well as 32 catches for 654 yards with 10 touchdowns, en route to helping SPHS win the 2016 3A State Championship … Chosen as the 2015 State Championship Defensive Player of the Game … Honored as team’s most versatile player as a senior … Two-year team captain of the defense … Recorded 15 interceptions during his final two seasons … Also lettered in baseball, basketball and track and field … Member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and Young Life … Personal: Son of Kevin and Shannon Muse … Brother, Tanner, plays football at Clemson … Enjoys water sports, bowling and basketball.
Great Falls, Va./Langley High School
Head Coach: John Howerton
What Pitts brings to the Tribe: “You can’t coach 6’6”. Lachlan is a smart football player with length, speed and strength. Lachlan will be a big threat in the pass game and a big, physical blocker in the run game.”
Prep: Four-year letterwinner as a tight end and defensive end for head coach John Howerton at Langley High School … Served as a team captain as a senior … Earned all-region and all-district honors in 2016 after ranking as the team’s second-leading receiver with 18 receptions … Led LHS in sacks, quarterback hurries, tackles for a loss, PBU’s as a senior … Also ranked second on the squad in tackles during his final season … Recipient of the Scholar Athlete Award all four years … Lettered as a member of the track team … Personal: Son of Linda McCormick and Jim Pitts … Father played football at the University of South Carolina … Grandfather played football at the University of North Carolina … Great grandfather played in the early NFL for the Orange Tornados … Brother, Brian, plays defensive end at the University of Albany … Brother, Colin, played football at Furman … Younger brother, Maclin, plays football at LHS … Oldest sibling, Alexandra, is a JMU graduate.
Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Christian School
Head Coach: Jason Estep
What Reed brings to the Tribe: “Bryden is a physical, explosive football player. He has the ability to put pressure on the quarterback by using speed to power moves.”
Prep: Three-year letterwinner as a defensive end, linebacker, tight end and guard for head coach Jason Estep at Charlotte Christian High School … Earned NCISSA first-team all-state honors as a senior after totaling 105 tackles, 12 sacks, 21.5 TFL, 30 quarterback hurries and seven PBUs … Also a CISSA first-team all-conference selection after helping team garner state runner-up honors in 2017 … Served as a team captain as a senior … Named squad’s 2016 Co-Defensive Player of the Year … Honored as the Player of the Week twice by the Charlotte Observer and South Charlotte Weekly … Lettered twice as a defender in lacrosse … Eagle Scout and Troup Leader … Served as vice president of CCS Support Club for Special Olympics … Volunteered with Servants with a Heart, Mercy Matters and Green Beret Foundation … Participated in international mission trips … Led a small group of Bible study and mentorship groups at CCS … Personal: Son of Rone and January Reed … Father played linebacker at West Point (USMA) … Mother was recruited to play collegiate basketball but chose instead to focus on academics and other interests … Enjoys fly fishing, hunting and playing chess.
Newport News, Va./Heritage High School
Head Coach: George Massenburg
What Watson brings to the Tribe: “Amonyae is a polished route runner with a great catch radius and the ability to create. His athletic ability is matched with the academics/personality needed to be successful at William & Mary.”
Prep: Five-year letterwinner as a wide receiver for head coach George Massenburg at Heritage High School … Earned second-team all-state and first-team all-region honors after totaling 35 catches for 923 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior … Totaled 68 catches for 1,844 yards with 18 touchdowns during his final two seasons … Two-time first-team all-conference selection (2015, 2016) … Twice named a Daily Press All-Star (2015, 2016) … Chosen Recruit 757 first-team All-757 three times (2014, 2015, 2016) … Selected as to the Virginia High School League (VHSL) All-Star game … Tabbed to the Peninsula 757 All-Star Game … Honored as the Wide Receiver MVP at All-America Camp … Two-time HHS Offensive Player of the Year (2015, 2016) … Ranked the No. 6 receiver in Virginia by Scout.com … Three-year letterwinner in track as a sprinter … Member of the National Honor Society and earned Honor Roll distinction every year … Member of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SAAD), Advanced Students Supporting Innovative Systematic Technology (ASSIST), and Governor Stem Program … Personal: Son of Howard Dunlap and Sharnel Watson … Father played football at Delaware … Enjoys piano, reading, fishing and basketball.
Bethesda, Md./Georgetown Prep
Head Coach: Daniel Paro
What Wright brings to the Tribe: “Owen has great ability between the tackles, has an excellent initial burst through the hole, and is unusually quick and light on his feet for a physical back. He comes from a quality high school program, so we know we’re getting a high character student-athlete with an outstanding work ethic.”
Prep: Three-year letterwinner as a running back for head coach Daniel Paro at Georgetown Prep … Earned first-team All-IAC and second-team all-state accolades after totaling 1,247 rushing yards with 19 touchdowns as a junior … Also earned All-Met honorable mention distinction in 2015 … Garnered second-team All-IAC honors as a senior after rushing for 831 yards with 14 touchdowns … Finished his prep career with 2,078 rushing yards with 33 touchdowns … Averaged 5.4 yards per carry during his three seasons … Member of Government Club, College Sports Club, Black Students Association (BSA) and Alumni Relations … Personal: Son of Reno and Robin Wright … Grandfather, Brig Owens, was an All-America quarterback at the University of Cincinnati and played strong safety for the Washington Redskins (1966-77) … Enjoys community service, working out and watching movies.