William and Mary senior All-American defensive end Adrian Tracy highlighted the Tribe’s list of preseason all-conference honorees announced at the annual Colonial Athletic Association Football Media Day event held at the ESPNZone in Baltimore on Wednesday, as he was chosen as the Preseason Co-Defensive Player of the Year. Joining him on the preseason All-CAA team were sophomore running back Jonathan Grimes, senior place-kicker Brian Pate and junior punter David Miller. The selections were based on a vote by the league’s 12 head coaches and chosen media.
In addition to all-conference awards, the preseason poll was announced as the Tribe was picked to finish fifth in the South Division.
A preseason All-America selection by the Sports Network and Phil Steele’s magazine, Tracy shared the CAA’s Preseason Co-Defensive Player of the Year award with Richmond junior linebacker Eric McBride. Tracy is coming off an exceptional junior season in which he earned All-America accolades from the Sports Network and the College Sporting News, while also garnering first-team All-CAA distinction and an Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference All-Star selection. In addition to ranking sixth nationally with 0.91 sacks per game in 2008, he led the league with 1.41 tackles for a loss per game, which ranked 20th nationally. The Sterling, Va., native also ranked second in the CAA among defensive linemen with 6.5 tackles per game and finished the year with 72 tackles, 15.5 tackles for a loss, 10.0 sacks and one blocked kick.
One of the Tribe’s five captains for the upcoming season, Tracy has been a fixture in the starting lineup throughout his career and has earned 33 starts. With 19.0 career sacks, he enters the 2009 campaign ranked tied for second in the nation among all active players.
Grimes enters his sophomore season as a preseason all-conference choice after establishing himself as one of the top true freshmen in the nation a year ago. Chosen as an Honorable Mention Freshman of the Year by the College Sporting News in 2008, he also earned Honorable Mention All-America distinction as a kick returner by the Sports Network. He was also selected as the CAA Offensive Rookie of the Year and the ECAC Rookie of the Year while earning first-team all-conference honors as a kick returner and second-team accolades as a running back. Grimes led the CAA and ranked 12th nationally with 162 all-purpose ypg, as three of his performances ranked among the program’s top 15 all-time (324 vs. Villanova; 283 at New Hampshire; 225 vs. Northeastern). Additionally, he averaged 84.5 ypg rushing and established a W&M freshman rushing record with 929 yards on the ground. In addition to scoring seven rushing touchdowns, the Palmyra, N.J., native also hauled in a pair of touchdown receptions to go with his 39 catches for 314 yards receiving. As a kickoff returner, Grimes averaged a league-best 24.5 yards per return, with a season-long of 97 yards (for a touchdown) against Villanova.
A 2009 Sports Network Preseason All-American, Pate has also garnered preseason first-team all-league honors by Phil Steele’s magazine. En route to earning first-team all-league honors as a junior in 2008, Pate connected on 13-of-16 field goal attempts, including 3-of-4 from beyond 40 yards, and converted all 41 of his extra-point opportunities. The Fredericksburg, Va., native also led the team and ranked second in the conference with 7.3 points per game. Additionally, his average of 1.18 field goals per game led the league and ranked tied for 17th nationally. Pate also excelled in the classroom and earned a spot on the CAA All-Academic Team.
A third-team all-conference selection last season, Miller earned preseason first-team all-league status from Phil Steele’s magazine earlier this month. The Centreville, Va., native ranked 16th nationally in punting in 2008 with 41.53 yards per kick. Additionally, he pinned the opposition inside the 20-yard line 12 times, while eight of his punts were longer than 50 yards.
Ranked as high as 12th in the 2009 preseason polls, the Tribe returns 15 starters from last season’s team that posted a 7-4 record and garnered a No. 20 final national ranking. W&M will open its season when it plays at Virginia on Sept. 5.