Coming off one of the greatest seasons in William and Mary history, Tribe football is hungry to build upon its success. With 15 returning starters, strong leadership from head coach Mike London and a season opener on the horizon — Tribe football is back.
Last season, William and Mary tied a school record with 11 wins, advancing to the National Collegiate Athletics Association quarterfinals. Several team members received recognition for their role in the team’s success. Former offensive lineman Colby Sorsdal ’22 was drafted in the fifth round of the 2023 National Football League draft to the Detroit Lions. Coach London, now entering his fifth season for the Tribe, was a finalist for the 2022 Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year after leading the Tribe to a Colonial Athletic Association Championship.
“Our key focuses have been consistency and finishing,” junior wide receiver Josh Guilford said. “We believe that these were the two qualities that could have led to an even better season last year. You can have all the talent in the world, but without consistency and the mental and physical discipline to finish, you can never truly reach your goals.”
With a team returning 15 starters, experience and leadership are key factors for the team’s success. The Tribe brought back much talent, including junior outside linebacker John Pius, who was recently selected to the 2024 Senior Bowl Watchlist. Senior cornerback Ryan Poole is a captain for the team and will lead a strong defensive backfield, with standouts like senior safety Marcus Barnes and sophomore cornerback Jalen Jones. Senior linebackers Isaiah Jones and Kevin Jarrell are returning for their sixth years, providing further leadership as team captains. Three of William and Mary’s top receivers from last season, juniors DreSean Kendrick, JT Mayo and Tyler Rose return, with starting quarterback junior Darius Wilson anchoring the roster in his third season for the Tribe.
With so many returners, there is a strong sense of comradery and chemistry within the team.
“This team’s chemistry is probably the best I’ve ever been a part of,” Guilford said. “We all know each other well on and off the field. It’s easy to play for your brother knowing he’s had your back for three plus years.”
Guilford also emphasized the value of the Tribe coaching staff.
“To this day, I still get goosebumps from some of coach London’s speeches to the team,” Guilford said. “He’s assembled a great coaching staff who want to see everyone on the team be a better player on the field, and better men off the field. The coaching staff is full of former players who understand what it’s like being a student-athlete and what it takes to play at this level, so it makes it easier playing for coaches who share that same fire and desire.”
Following months of offseason training, the Tribe have their eyes set on its week one matchup against Campbell.
“It all starts with the first game against Campbell,” Guilford said. “We concentrate on doing everything we can to ensure the team goes 1-0 every week.”
William and Mary is set to face Campbell on Thursday, August 31 at Barker Lane Stadium in Buies Creek, North Carolina.