Willie Downs is one of the top players in the nation regardless of position for the 2009 class. Very few players excel at two positions like Downs does. Earlier in his high school career Willie was projected as a safety on the next level, but after getting a chance to play wide receiver, and excelling at it, he is projected to play offense on the next level. According to Willie getting the chance to have the ball in his hands is something he relishes.
"Things have been going well this year, and now I am just getting back into the groove after having a week off," said Downs. "We're undefeated which is good. The quarterback and our receivers are all on the same page and things are coming together for us."
"I've been playing both sides of the ball this year," continued Downs about how his senior year has been going. "I also punt so I'm pretty involved. I don't know my stats but it seems like every game I play I am getting right at 100 yards receiving and at least one touchdown. On defense teams really aren't testing me or coming my way so I don't have a lot of tackles on defense. I need to make more plays on defense, but I love offense. My heart is there now ever since I got a chance to play receiver. I like getting the ball and being able to make things happen."
There's been a lot of talk amongst Florida State fans about the possibility of Willie playing safety in college. Downs committed to FSU as a wide-out and that is where he's planning on playing. When NoleDigest asked him his thoughts on playing defense in college his reply was a little surprising.
"I like defense, but offense is where I'm going to play on the next level," said Downs. "To be honest though, I wouldn't mind playing safety if they asked. I think I could make some noise there (laughs). I think I could make a lot of plays and do some things."
Going to FSU was something that Downs always thought he'd do. Since committing he's been to several games supporting his favorite team regardless of sport.
"I'm not going anywhere else but FSU," said Downs, "because it is always where I dreamed of going. Out of any team in any sport they are my favorite; I love them and now I have a chance to play for them."
"This past weekend I was at the Virginia Tech game," continued Downs. "I love the defensive side of the ball for FSU. They make a lot of plays. Once that offensive line gets better the offense will be great. They still make the plays when they need to. The quarterback is young, too. He had some guys like Preston (Parker) open and he just missed them. Once they get more experience they'll get it."
Athletic ability has never been the question with Willie. Maybe the biggest factor is him not being a top 25 recruit is academics. He's long been a recruit no one thought would qualify. He's been working his tail off to make that happen, and we've seen over the past few years that recruits aren't always as far away as they seem to making the grade.
"I got grades today (Monday)," expressed Downs. "I'm struggling a little in a math class but I will get that turned (around). Overall things have been going well. I've been working on my core classes, so as long as I finish the year well I should have the grades. I also have to get my test score. To be honest I think I am going to make it; I strongly believe that. People saying I'm not going to makes me want it even more because I want to show them I can do it and prove them wrong."
Downs has been impressed with the 16th ranked 6-1 Seminoles so far this season, and he plans on making the rest of the home games the rest of the season. He has one game in particular he is excited to see.
"I can't wait for that Clemson game," said Downs. "FSU has been playing well and I think we are going to win that game on the 8th. I've got a little bragging to do when it comes to us winning that game"
Stay tuned to NoleDigest as we track Willie's progress off and on the field. Also stay tuned to NoleDigest for the latest news with all of the 2009 recruiting targets for the Noles.