Call to brother seals it for Willis

The highlight of the day in the Under Armour All-American game can be traced back to a member of the Alabama Crimson Tide football team. Before 5-star defensive end Gerald Willis went on the stage to commit during halftime of the Under Armour All-American Game, his brother called and told him to be is own man. Minutes later, he was a Gator.

Willis brother saw himself on the podium two years ago. Landon Collins was a five-star prospect and down to LSU and Alabama. When he approached the stage his parents were thinking LSU. Instead, he pulled out an Alabama hat and committed to the Crimson Tide.

Now Collins is a star player for Nick Saban and was able to talk to his brother just before he was able to go out on the stage to make his announcement. This time around his parents weren't quite as shocked because they knew Florida was a big deal to Willis, but they still didn't know what he would do.

"I finally made the decision in the locker room when I was preparing to go on," Willis told us after the game. "He gave his opinion and he was the only one I need to go to for advice.

"I never told (my parents). I just went up there and sat down and made my decision."

The talk with his brother was all he needed.

"The Under Armour people kept asking me which school I was picking and I kept flip flopping," he said. "I just had to talk to that one person and that was my brother. At one moment I was going to pick LSU and another moment it was Florida. He told me I need to ‘live life'. I need to get outside of Louisiana. I have been in New Orleans all my life, so I need to experience more and see what I can do." Two years ago Ms. Willis wasn't a happy camper on the stage. She was expecting her oldest son to stay close to home so she could see him when she wanted. When he surprised, she showed publicly that she was unhappy, but has sense come around to it.

This time around, the thought was there that it could happen, but she still seemed a little off on he fact he put the Gator game gloves on and chose Florida. Willis said his mother was fine with the decision, but surprised again.

"She said she would be behind me 100%," he said. "I don't know what her attitude was, but she said she is really happy for me."

There was a game going on and a week worth of practices leading up to it. Willis said he learned some things and feels he showed up well among his All-American peers.

"I think I played well," he said. "I have a lot of things to work on, but I thought I did well. I need to point my toes toward the quarterback but I will work on that this summer."

The coaches thought he really plays relentless.

"Retracing, getting off the blocks and making tackles is what I did well," they kept on me about using my hands and keep moving my feet. Don't ever stop my feet." Willis gave his reasons for choosing the Gators.

"Derek Lewis, Damien Jacobs, and Coach Muschamp were the main factors," Willis said. "Plus they are The Florida Gators, they know pass rushing and getting g off the ball."

He expects big things from himself in year one as a Gator and the fact he will enroll in January to compete this spring will only help his cause.

"I plan on going in there and representing Louisiana, New Orleans, and my family," he said. "I plan on having 7-8-9 sacks in the SEC. It is big time in the SEC. I have seen all the live action on the field and want to be a part of that."

He had zero reservations about coming to Florida after a 4-8 record. The Gators worst record in over three decades is something Willis knows he can help fix. But don't expect him to be like anyone else you have seen line up on the defensive line at Florida.

"I think I can be a guy that can come in and change all of that," he said. "Coach Muschamp told me I am like Dominique Easley, but I told him, ‘I am a Gerald Willis III'.

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