Wednesday, February 21, 2024

W&M’s Nate Lynn Honored as Preseason CAA Football Defensive Player of the Year

William & Mary Football’s Nate Lynn (Courtesy of Tribe Athletics)

WILLIAMSBURG — William & Mary All-America defensive end Nate Lynn highlighted the Tribe’s list of preseason all-conference honorees announced during the annual Colonial Athletic Association Media Day event on Thursday, as he was chosen as the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

Joining Lynn on the preseason all-conference team are running back Bronson Yoder and cornerback Ryan Poole. Additionally, Colby Sorsdal (offensive lineman), Malachi Imoh (utility back) and Alex Washington (specialist) garnered honorable mention distinction.

The CAA’s preseason poll was also announced and the Tribe was picked to finish fifth, while it garnered a pair of first-place votes. W&M was one of just three teams to earn multiple first-place votes. Both the preseason all-conference team and preseason poll were selected based on a vote by the CAA’s 13 head coaches and media relations personnel.

Honored as a preseason 2022 FCS All-America selection by Athlon Sports and selected to the East-West Shrine Bowl 1000, Lynn garnered postseason All-America accolades by five organizations last year and placed ninth in the final voting for the 2021 Buck Buchanan Award (FCS National Defensive Player of the Year) after ranking third nationally in sacks per game (1.2) and first in forced fumbles per game (0.6). Additionally, his 12 sacks, which he totaled in just 10 games, tied W&M’s single-season record set by former All-Americans Adrian Tracy (2009, 14 games) and Luke Cullinane (1996, 12 games).

In addition to his impressive sack total and ability to create turnovers, Lynn recorded 52 tackles and a pair of pass breakups en route to earning All-CAA First Team accolades and being selected as the Touchdown Club of Richmond Division I Defensive Lineman of the Year, which honors the top defensive lineman in Virginia. His long list of accolades also included being chosen as the VaSID (Virginia Sports Information Directors) Defensive Player of the Year.

A converted safety, Yoder successfully transitioned to running back last season and earned all-conference honors after leading the team with 622 rushing yards on 114 carries with four touchdowns. Despite logging more than 11 carries in just three contests, he posted a pair of 100-yard efforts and ranked fifth in the CAA in rushing yards per game (69.2) and second in yards per carry (5.46). Highlighting his season was a 106-yard rushing performance in the win at Villanova and a 134-yard effort against Richmond. One of the league’s top all-around players, he ranked fourth in the league in all-purpose yards per contest (111.8).

Poole emerged as one of the league’s top cornerbacks last season and ranked tied for seventh nationally in passes defended (14 PBU, INT). Additionally, the all-conference standout ranked fourth in the conference in forced fumbles (3) and was second on the team in tackles (59). He also totaled 2.5 TFL, a fumble recovery and half sack.

A four-year starter at right tackle, Sorsdal earned All-CAA distinction last season after helping bookend the Tribe’s dominant offensive line. W&M led the CAA and ranked 16th nationally with 205.5 rushing yards per game, while it tied for the league’s top rushing touchdowns total (19). Additionally, the Tribe averaged 5.0 yards per carry – nearly matching the program’s single-season record (5.1) set in 1990. The offensive line was equally as effective in pass protection, as it ranked tied for eighth nationally in fewest sacks allowed per game (1.0) and 10th in fewest sacks allowed (11).

Although Imoh was limited by injury last season, he earned second-team All-CAA honors by Phil Steele after rushing for 384 yards on 67 carries with a pair of touchdowns. Additionally, he averaged 54.9 rushing yards per game and 5.7 yards per carry. Highlighting his redshirt freshman campaign was a 101-yard effort that included a 53-yard touchdown scamper versus James Madison, while he piled up 67 yards on 13 carries with a  touchdown in the win at No. 4 Villanova.

One of the league’s top performers on special teams, Washington recorded a pair of blocked punts last season. Additionally, he recovered a fumble in the end zone on a bad snap during a punt attempt in the victory against UAlbany. The linebacker saw action in all 11 games last season and posted 22 tackles with a TFL and a forced fumble.

Ranked 23rd nationally in the Athlon Sports Preseason Poll, W&M is coming off a successful 2021 campaign in which it totaled the program’s most wins since 2015 and garnered a national ranking multiple weeks.

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The Tribe will open its 2022 slate at Charlotte on Friday, Sept. 2, with kickoff set for 7 p.m.

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