In two seasons as a member of Virginia’s football team, Willie Snead III had a total of nine receptions from 1984-85.
If the Cavaliers aren’t careful, Snead’s son might have that many catches on Saturday alone.
Willie Snead IV already has had two nine-reception games this season for Ball State, which comes to Scott Stadium for a noon kickoff.
The younger Snead, a 5-foot-11, 193-pound junior, is coming off a 2012 season in which he caught 89 passes for 1,148 yards and nine touchdowns.
“He’s really taken advantage of opportunities that have been presented to him,” Willie III said.
Willie IV played quarterback for his father at Muskegon Heights (Mich.) High School and was named state player of the year
“SEC schools wanted him as a safety, but he wanted to play receiver,” Willie IV said. “Ball State gave him the opportunity to come in early and play as a freshman and that kind of decided where he was going to go.”
For his part, Willie III accepted a position as offensive coordinator at Hampton University, but stayed for only season, 2011, when the Pirates had more than 4,000 yards in total offense and finished 7-4.
He resigned to become the head coach at Palm Beach Lakes (Fla.) Community School, where his younger son, Isaiah, is a junior quarterback.
“I felt guilty [at Hampton] because my son younger son was at Phoebus High School and I never got a chance to see him play, and then I never got to see Willie play at Ball State,” Snead said
Willie III has coached at high schools in Illinois, California, Michigan and Florida, winning state championships at Muskegon Heights and at his alma mater, Glade Central in Belle Glade, Fla.
Snead was one of two UVa signees from Glade Central in the Cavaliers’ 1984 first-year class, along with John Ford. As a senior at Glade Central in 1983, Snead was chosen top receiver and most valuable player, while Ford, who was 6 foot 4, was making a transition from tight end to wide receiver.
Ford went on to catch 128 passes, a school record at the time, during his UVa career. Sne
Snead caught four passes as a freshman and five as a sophomore, then transferred to Florida.
“After I sat out a year, they put me on scholarship [at Florida],” said Snead, who lettered as a sophomore at Virginia in 1985. “It worked out for the best.
He caught 33 passes over two seasons for the Gators.
As for any mixed feelings about his original choice, Snead said he’s “moved past that.”
In hindsight, it’s not a surprise that he got into coaching, as has Ford
“I always had a knack for picking up things quickly,:” Snead said, “and I think that was part of my frustration.
“When I was there at UVa, I was able to pick up the scheme. It was just a matter of getting an opportunity to compete. There were some guys who were seniors who had kind of waited their turn to play.
“It didn’t happen for me but that’s just part of college football.”
He was able to reconnect with old UVa friends during his year at Hampton but, Saturday’s game will mark the first time he has stepped foot inside Scott Stadium since 1986.
“After our team plays Friday night, my wife and I take turns going to watch Willie play,” Willie III said. “We all know the history of me having gone to Virginia, but I’m more excited about the year he’s been having.”