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Williamsburg players give W&M signing day local flavor

DeVonte Dedmon woke bright and early Wednesday, his signed letter-of-intent in William and Mary football offices at 7 a.m.

"I wanted to be a part of the family early," Dedmon said.

Truth be told, the Williamsburg native and Warhill High standout was already plenty familiar with the school and its football program.

Dedmon attended W&M's annual Colonial All-Pro football camp beginning in fifth grade. He has known the Tribe's veteran coaching staff for years. He watched cousin and former W&M All-American B.W. Webb prowl the field at Zable Stadium.

"It felt like I was already part of the family," Dedmon said.

Dedmon and close friend Jahlil Green from Lafayette gave National Signing Day at Tribe World Football Headquarters a local flavor. The two area prospects, as well as defensive back Rashaad Goodwyn from state champ Dinwiddie, are among the centerpieces of W&M's 15-member recruiting class for 2014.

"They're very good players, very good students," said head coach Jimmye Laycock, who was thrilled to land a couple of quality hometown prospects.

"They know a lot about us," Laycock said. "They've grown up around us. Sometimes, that makes kids see things or anticipate things that aren't very good, but they saw it as all good and they felt very good about it. I was very pleased that those guys that knew that much about us wanted to come here for all the right reasons, and I think that speaks very highly of William and Mary."

Dedmon and Green were among the area's most productive players. Dedmon, 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds, totaled 1,514 yards and 19 touchdowns in just six games, in a season limited by injuries.

Green, 5-10 and 180 pounds, rushed for 2,055 yards and 34 touchdowns for the Rams' state quarterfinalist. The two played youth football together, and their families have been friends for years.

Dedmon chose W&M over Richmond and James Madison and said he had scholarship offers from Hampton, Norfolk State, and interest from Old Dominion.

"It's the chance to play for a great program and get a great education," Dedmon said. "If you get a degree from William and Mary, there's no telling what you can do with your life."

Green originally committed to Richmond last summer, but withdrew the commitment and reopened the recruiting process. He said that the more he spoke with assistant coach David Corley Jr. and Laycock, and the more familiar he became with the program and the school, it felt like the right fit.

Green said that he also had scholarship offers from James Madison, Bucknell, Ohio U., Marshall, Towson, VMI and Holy Cross. He said that interest from JMU waned after its coaching change. He still considered Richmond, but committed to W&M and made good on his commitment Wednesday.

"I talked with a lot of the recruits and they're excited about the class coming in," Green said. "With the current players, I get the vibe that they see me as part of the team already. They treat me with a lot of love."

Both said that W&M's coaches have told them that potentially they could get playing time as freshmen. Dedmon is a little faster and quicker — he is a sub-11-second 100-meter sprinter — while Green is more powerful, but equally capable of eluding defenders.

Goodwyn, 6-1 and 195 pounds, was one of the ringleaders of a Dinwiddie team that went 15-0 and won the Class 4A state championship. He finished with 121 tackles and two interceptions for a team that limited five playoff opponents to a total of 28 points. He was named Touchdown Club of Richmond's high school Defensive Player of the Year.

The Tribe balanced the signing class, with at least one player at every position and multiple linemen. Laycock said that they didn't have to recruit for immediate need, because of returning depth and the fact that they were able to redshirt last year's entire freshman class.

"It's not like we said we had to find somebody to play right away," he said. "We're not in that situation. … But I wouldn't be surprised if a few of these guys weren't pushing for playing time. Then again, you never know."

All Green and Dedmon ask is an opportunity.

"I need to get familiar with the playbook," Dedmon said, "and the rest will take care of itself."

Fairbank can be reached by phone at 757-247-4637.

Tribe signees

Name, Pos., Ht., Wt., Hometown/High School

Garrett Best, OL, 6-5, 285, Laurinburg, N.C./Scotland HS

David Carlisle, WR, 6-3, 195, New Market, Md./Oakdale HS

Andrew Caskin, TE, 6-4, 235, Rockville, Md./Georgetown Prep

DeVonte Dedmon, ATH, 5-9, 175, Williamsburg/Warhill HS

Denzel Dykes, DB, 5-11, 170, Waldorf, Md./Saint John's College HS

Patrick Ely, DL, 6-2, 290, Cookeville, Tenn./Upperman HS

Rashaad Goodwyn, DB, 6-1, 200, DeWitt, Va./Dinwiddie HS

Jahlil Green, RB, 5-10, 175, Williamsburg/Lafayette HS

Will Jones, OL, 6-7, 315, Augusta, Ga./Lawrenceville School

Isaiah Kinder, QB, 5-11, 175, Lewisburg, W.Va./Greenbrier East HS

Spencer Kleinrichert, OLB, 6-3, 220, Edgewater, Md./DeMatha Catholic HS

Nathan McConnell, OL, 6-4, 272, Jacksonville, N.C./Jacksonville HS

Raeshawn Smith, DB, 5-9, 170, Fairfax, Va./Chantilly HS

Isaiah Stephens, DL, 6-2, 324, Smyrna, Del./Smyrna HS

Kolby Taylor, LB, 6-2, 235, Leonardtown, Md./St. Mary's Ryken HS

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