After losing one of the smaller senior classes William and Mary has ever had, it stands to reason this recruiting class would be low in numbers. But going into his 39th season, Tribe coach Jimmye Laycock made the most of those limited spaces, especially up front.
Three of the eight players who signed Wednesday morning are offensive linemen, and each is at least 6-foot-4 and 280 pounds. Laycock knows more than most that you can never have too much size or depth on the line.
“It’s something you have to be sure you always recruit, I think, in every signing class,” Laycock said. “This year, obviously, our class is very small numbers-wise, but we felt like it was very important.
“They have good potential, and with offensive linemen, you’re looking at potential offensive linemen who can develop and really be good players. All these guys have the length and the size. I’m excited about having them in the program and working with them.”
Last season, four starting linemen missed a combined 15 games with injuries. Only left guard Connor Hilland, a senior, started every game. That required plenty of juggling.
The three new linemen are Marcus Crowell (6-foot-5, 280 pounds) of Montclair, N.J., Colby Sorsdal (6-4, 282) of Pittsburgh and Ryan Childress (6-5, 285) of Stafford. Childress played all three positions in high school. Crowell also played some tight end.
“You’ve got five of them playing at a time, so you have to have numbers in there,” Laycock said. “But I think, more than just numbers, we’ve got some good ones.”
The Tribe also signed three defensive backs — Ryan Poole of Glen Burnie, Md., Isaiah Jones of Norristown, Pa. and Gregory Cuffey of Hopewell. Laycock considers them athletic enough to play either cornerback or safety, or perhaps even wide receiver.
W&M also added a quarterback, Kevin Jarrell of Charlottesville. The Tribe returns all three quarterbacks who played last season.
The December signing period was new for all coaches, even those (like Laycock) going into their 39th season.
“It’s a little different, but it looks like it turned out pretty good for us,” he said. “They got on top of it and got it in. It was all good.”
Laycock said Tribe might add “one or two” signees in February. Either way, he likes the small group he has.
“Given the limited numbers we’re dealing with bringing in this year, I think we covered ourselves the best we could,” Laycock said. “We covered the positions we put on the board early on that we needed to get.”
Ryan Childress, OL, 6-5, 285, North Stafford HS, Stafford.
Marcus Crowell, OL, 6-5, 280, Montclair HS, Montclair, N.J.
Gregory Cuffey, DB, 6-1, 185, Hopewell HS, Hopewell.
Kevin Jarrell, QB, 6-1, 200, Monticello HS, Charlotteville.
Isaiah Jones, DB, 6-1, 205, La Salle College HS, Norristown, Pa.
Marteise Phipps, DL, 6-2, 215, Monacan HS, North Chesterfield.
Ryan Poole, DB, 5-11, 180, St. Mary’s HS, Glen Burnie, Md.
Colby Sorsdal, OL, 6-4, 282, Mount Lebanon HS, Pittsburgh.
Johnson can be reached by phone at 757-247-4649. Follow him on Twitter at @DaveJohnsonDP.