Willie Snead IV (born October 17, 1992) is an American football wide receiver for the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League (NFL). He was signed by the Cleveland Browns as an undrafted free agent in 2014. He played college football at Ball State.
Snead played his freshman year at Glade Central High School in Belle Glade, Fla. The Snead family then moved to Michigan where Willie Snead III had taken the head coaching job at Holland Christian in Holland, Mich. Holland Christian went 14-0 in 2008 winning the state championship. Snead, as a sophomore, was one of the top receivers with 35 receptions, 543 receiving yards, and 5 touchdowns.
Another move to Muskegon took Snead to Muskegon Heights High School where he would play his final two years of high school football. His senior year, Snead was named Michigan Division 5-6 Player of the Year by the Associated Press. At Muskegon Heights, Snead played quarterback and in his senior year he threw for 2,200 passing yards with 13 touchdowns and one interception. He rushed for an additional 1,083 yards and nine TDs. Snead also played defense as a linebacker and safety with one interception and 76 tackles.
Snead started four games for the Cardinals in 2011. In his first start, Snead recorded 180 receiving yards (11th best single game receiving yardage in Ball State history) and a touchdown against Army. His first career reception came at South Florida and his first career touchdown catch came vs. Buffalo. Ball State finished the season 6-6 with another win over Army 48-21 and notable losses to #22 ranked South Florida and #2 ranked Oklahoma. Snead finished his freshman season with 327 receiving yards and 2 touchdown catches.
In the 2012 season Snead started in 12 games and played in all 13. At the end of the 2012 season Snead was tied for third on Ball State's single season receptions and third for single season receiving yards. In his sophomore season, Snead ended the year 25th in the nation on receiving yards per game averaging 88 yards per game. He finished the season with 89 receptions, 1,148 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns. His 9 touchdown catches gave him the 6th best single-season record in Ball State history.
The Ball State Cardinals finished the 2012 season 9-3 with important wins over #25th ranked Toledo 34-27, the then Big East’s South Florida 31-27 and, for a second year in a row, the Big Ten’s Indiana Hoosiers 41-39. The three regular season losses came to the #12 ranked Clemson Tigers, Kent State and Northern Illinois. Both Kent State and Northern Illinois went on to be ranked in the top 25. Snead started for Ball State in the 2012 Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl game in St. Petersburg, Florida where they were ultimately defeated by the Central Florida Golden Knights 38-17.
Snead helped quarterback Keith Wenning and head coach Pete Lembo to lead the Ball State Cardinals to another successful season, finishing bowl eligible for the third consecutive year with a 10-3 record. Snead had 100+ receiving yards in 9 games, a school record, and tied with Vanderbilt's Jordan Matthews for the most that year. He also finished the season with 106 receptions for 1,516 yards and 15 touchdowns, setting the Ball State single-season receiving record in all three categories. Those totals also ranked him tied for 7th, 3rd, and tied for 3rd respectively among all college football players that season.
Snead bypassed his senior season to enter the 2014 NFL Draft after the 2013 season.
Snead ranks 2nd in Ball State history with 2,991 receiving yards (to Dante Ridgeway's 3,030) and 26 receiving TDs (to Darius Hill's 31), and third in receptions with 223. He and Ridgeway are the only two players in Ball State history to have two 1,000 yard receiving seasons, and his 13 games with 100+ yards receiving is a school record.
Snead went undrafted in 2014 but he quickly signed as an undrafted free agent with the Cleveland Browns. Snead gave a strong showing during the Browns training camp and secured playing time in the preseason games. In the Browns second preseason game vs the Washington Redskins Snead pulled down two passes from Johnny Manziel. Both were called back due to penalties called on other players. His first true reception came on a 15-yard pass from Connor Shaw. Snead finished the game with 3 receptions for 29 yards. At the end of the game Snead also tipped a Hail Mary pass into the hands of TE Emmanuel Ogbuehi. Snead made the final round of cuts with the Browns before being released.
After an unsuccessful tryout with the New York Giants, Snead signed with the Carolina Panthers practice squad on September 23, 2014.
New Orleans Saints
Snead became a member of the New Orleans Saints's practice squad on December 11, 2014. He finished the year having spent time with three teams, but without appearing in any regular season games.
Snead had a strong training camp in 2015 and made the final 53-man roster. His play drew favorable comparisons to former Saint Lance Moore, and earned him a starting position for the last 9 games of the season. He had two 100+ yard games (6-141 in a game 5 loss at Philadelphia, and 7-122 in a week 13 win over Tampa Bay) and finished his first year in the NFL with 69 catches for 984 yards (second on the team to Brandin Cooks's 1,138) and 3 touchdowns. This was the most receiving yards by an undrafted rookie in NFL history.
Snead began 2016 as the Saints number two receiver. During a Week 1 loss to the Oakland Raiders, Snead caught 9 passes for a career-best 172 yards and a touchdown, combining with teammates Cooks and Michael Thomas for 373 yards receiving, the most ever by a New Orleans trio in a loss. In week 12, he completed a 50 yard touchdown pass to Tim Hightower off a lateral against the Los Angeles Rams, the longest TD pass by an NFL wide receiver since Mohamed Sanu in 2012, and the first ever by a New Orleans wide receiver.
- Selected as a Biletnikoff Award Semifinalists in 2012 & 2013
- 2012 All-MAC First Team Offense
- 2013 All-MAC First Team Offense
- 2013 Honorable Mention WR All-American by Sports Illustrated
- Vance, Bryan. "Ball State's Willie Snead Signed By Cleveland Browns". hustlebelt.com. hustlebelt.com. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
- Lyndall, Craig. "Willie Snead and the elusive undrafted starter". waitingfornextyear.com. waitingfornextyear.com. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
- "Ex-Cardinal Snead signs with Panthers". www.thestarpress.com. A Gannett Company. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
- Breiner, Ben. "Ball State's Snead makes Saints practice squad". www.thestarpress.com. Gannett. Retrieved December 12, 2014.
- pro-football-reference.com http://pfref.com/tiny/CKNwx. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
- "Biletnikoff Award Announces 2013 Semifinalists". biletnikoffaward.com. biletnikoffaward.com. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
- Scheessele, Keith. "2013 All-MAC Teams Announced, Huskies Lead the Way". SB Nation. hustlebelt.com. Retrieved December 18, 2013.
- By SI.com staff. "College Football All America Team". SI.com. Sports Illustrated. Retrieved December 18, 2013.
His father, Willie Snead III, played wide receiver at Virginia and Florida and was drafted by the New York Jets in the 12th round of the 1989 NFL Draft.