Many talented players fall under the radar each season because they do not play at a prominent college. This is definitely the case for William & Mary wide receiver Tre McBride.
McBride was a phenomenal player while he was attending Ola High School, Ga. When he was a three-year varsity player for the Mustangs from 2008 to 2010, he was primarily a running back, according to a TribeAthletics YouTube video. His performance his last season with the Mustangs was excellent as he averaged 9.8 yards per carry, had more than 1,500 all-purpose yards, had more than 25 yards per reception and scored 10 touchdowns. He had three football scholarship offers on the table, but the offer from Duke disintegrated when he delayed committing there. McBride ended up choosing to commit to William & Mary over Furman because "he preferred a civilian college experience," according to Dave Fairbank of the Daily Press. Shortly after that impressive season, he began his collegiate career at William & Mary.
When McBride began playing for the Tribe as a Freshman, head coach Jimmye Laycock decided to switch him from his natural running back position to wide receiver. McBride had to learn how to read different pass coverages, which was tough for a player that had never really had to do that.
"I had never read coverages in my life," he said-according to Fairbank. "I didn't know what 'Cover 2' or 'Cover 3' was. I didn't know anything about reading coverages and learning how to adjust your routes based on coverages."
The inexperience was definitely a big reason why he struggled with inconsistency during his Freshman season. According to Fairbank, "the Tribe offense requires that receivers read coverages and make adjustments." It was tough for McBride to not only learn how to play wide receiver at the Football Championship Subdivision, FCS, level, but also have to read the defense and adjust to the defense's different pass coverages. His size also contributed to his struggles with inconsistency.
Defensive backs were able to knock around, outmuscle and disrupt the routes of the 6-foot-2, 185-pound McBride, according to Dave Fairbank of the Daily Press. As the season progressed, he became more and more comfortable with the offense. He finished his first season with 14 catches for 146 yards and four carries for 29 yards in 11 games. Typically, true freshman wide receiver at William & Mary do not receive any playing time. He became the first true freshman wide receiver to play since D.J. McAulay in 2005, according to his profile on the William & Mary Tribe website. Following that season, McBride gained 15 pounds so he could better absorb the contact by the defensive backs and players in the secondary.
Since his Freshman season, McBride has excelled for the Tribe. He has totaled 118 catches for 1,698 yards and scored 15 touchdowns as a wide receiver. This includes a fantastic game against West Virginia last season when he caught three catches for 108 yards. His statistics are especially impressive considering "the Tribe's run-first offense and instability at the quarterback position," according to Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com-displayed on CBSSports.com. That run-first offense and instability at the quarterback position has not prevented him from dominating defensive backs.
He was a nightmare for defensive backs and safeties to cover with his tremendous speed and vertical. The catches he made against West Virginia were primarily on '50-50' passes where he was able to use his great vertical to tower over the defensive back that was covering him and make the reception. He could have easily scored a touchdown, if the quarterback had not underthrown a pass to him. In addition, he is also a good kickoff returner as he returned 22 kickoffs for 605 yards last season. All of this adds up to McBride being a player to watch this season.
Very few College Football fans know about this 6-foot-2, 205-pound wide receiver because he plays for William & Mary. There has been a lot of College Football coverage in the media that has been primarily focused on Football Bowl Subdivision, FBS, schools and players. McBride definitely garners some attention, as he is poised for a breakout season. His size and speed, clocked a sub-4.40 in the 40-yard dash-according to Mike Huguenin of NFL.com, has allowed him terrorize opposing secondaries for the past two seasons. He is a nightmare for defensive backs and safeties to cover because he has the quickness to run by them and the vertical to catch '50-50' passes in mid-air. McBride is entering his Senior year at William & Mary and he could be a potential top-100 draft player in the 2015 NFL Draft.
College football fans and analysts will be able to watch at least three of McBride's games this upcoming season on a national network. Two of the games are going to be shown on the NBC Sports Network and one of the games will be shown on ESPN News. The biggest test for him this upcoming season will be against Virginia Tech. The Hokies have a defensive secondary that is so good that College Football analyst Phil Steele ranked their defensive back unit as the best in the country, according to Andrea Adelson of ESPN.com. McBride will most likely be matched up against Kendall Fuller or Brandon Facyson during that game. Both of them combined for 11 interceptions last year and were phenomenal defensive backs. If McBride can have a great game against that secondary, then he will finally get the national recognition that he deserves.
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