Experienced Target Shows Worth

Junior Marcel Willis talks about his comeback from a preseason ankle injury.

Auburn, Ala.--Wide receiver Marcel Willis was slated to be a prime target for Auburn quarterback Jason Campbell after the redshirt freshman was named the starter just two weeks prior to the Tigers' season-opener with Ball State. He was the team's leading returning receiver from last season when he caught 27 passes for 352 yards and one touchdown.

But an injury to his right ankle has limited the six-foot-one, 182-pounder's action in Auburn's first four games. And it also cost Willis and Campbell value time in developing the necessary timing that is so important between and quarterback and receivers.

Marcel Willis

"When I first got hurt, Jason was our new quarterback," Willis says. "I had only worked with him for like four days before I got hurt. Coming back off the injury, I was little nervous of him throwing the ball and all that. But as far as me practicing now since I have come back, me and Jason have been gelling and my confidence is building greatly in Jason. I think he is a great quarterback."

Willis displayed the cohesiveness that is beginning to develop between him and Campbell Saturday night in Nashville in his first extensive action of the season. The junior wideout caught a game-high four passes for 87 yards including a 47-yard catch and run which is the longest reception of the season by a Tiger. Willis had a 48-yard touchdown catch against the Commodores last season.

"It was good to see Marcel come back out and make some plays," offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone said. "We've really been missing him for the last three weeks. He's one of the other guys who has some experience offensively from last year. He's still not 100 percent healthy, but it was good to come see him make some plays for us."

Willis missed the first two games of the season and saw his first action of the season against Syracuse. He had just one catch for nine yards agianst the Orangemen. "I was out there a little bit more," Willis says. "My foot did feel a little better. I'm still get better and still healing. I'm not 100 percent yet. But, I feel like right now I can contribute to the team and help them win. I'm out there doing anything I can."

The roller coaster ride Willis says the ankle injury has put him through had him feeling about 90 percent after the Vanderbilt game. He is slowly working his way back up to 100 percent and when that happens, Willis and Campbell could form quite a passing tandem for the Tigers.


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