Willis Returns from UNC

Brandon Willis has always planned to officially visit all five of his favorite schools, regardless of his commitment status. Thus, despite his pledge to Tennessee, he took an official trip to North Carolina over the weekend.

"It was good," Willis said of the UNC official visit. "It was really good. It was a nice visit. I really got to sit down and talk with the coaches and spent time with the players."

Willis, who officially visited Tennessee on Halloween weekend, will continue with his official visits this weekend when he travels to Los Angeles to check out UCLA. After returning from the West Coast, the 6-foot-4, 255-pound defensive lineman from Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes will schedule official visits to remaining favorites California and Miami.

Essentially at this stage of his recruitment, through the official visits, Willis is looking to see if a school can dethrone Tennessee. It appears that UNC did not accomplish that this past weekend.

"Right now, I'm pretty firm with Tennessee," Willis said. "I'm still committed to Tennessee – I haven't changed my mind. I'll just take it as it comes."

With a first round playoff game Friday night, Willis, accompanied by his father, didn't arrive in Chapel Hill until 4 a.m. Saturday.

Throughout his UNC say, fellow defensive lineman Marvin Austin served as Willis' host.

"It was good [spending time with Austin]," Willis said. "He's a good guy. He's been through a lot and he's developed into a great player. He's real cool. We got a long well."

"North Carolina has a good crowd," Willis said. "They pack it in. It's real good when you have a lot of fans and everybody is going crazy about the team. It's not quite as much as Tennessee – having 100,000 there is going to be way different."

Outside of Saturday's game, Willis' visit included a campus tour and plenty of eating out at local restaurants.

"I really just took a deeper look at UNC," Willis said.

Before ending his stay Sunday, Willis and his father met with Butch Davis and John Blake, UNC's defensive line coach and Willis' primary recruiter.

"Really, we just talked about life outside of football," Willis said. "There really wasn't any pressure. We just talked about football and how I fit into their system."

UNC is recruiting Willis as a defensive tackle, a position that could offer a lot of playing time early on with the graduation of three seniors (Tavares Brown, Aleric Mullins, and starter Cam Thomas) and the possible early departure of Austin, a starter, to the NFL.

"I do want to come in and play – that's why I graduated early," Willis said. "If you're coming in when people are leaving, that doesn't mean [you're guaranteed playing time, because] you've got guys coming in with you. So either way, you have to earn playing time."

Willis plays on the defensive line for nationally ranked Byrnes. Thus far this season, he has accumulated 65 tackles and three sacks.

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