Three-star Arizona Western College defensive back Nate Willis announced via the Twitter social network on Tuesday that Kentucky and Baylor were the two finalists in his recruitment.
The 6-foot-1, 180-pound corner says he has an official visit lined up with the Wildcats on January 25 and is feeling good about UK's potential.
"Kentucky has been a favorite of mine since it was announced that coach (Mark) Stoops was hired up there," Willis said. "Being a Florida guy, I always liked watching Florida State play and the kind of defenses they had. I didn't hear too much from them when they were at Florida State, though, so it kind of surprised me when I got the call that they wanted me to come to Kentucky. I was excited about it. A chance to play in the SEC is something I always dreamed about when I was younger. I was a big fan of the Florida Gators, but I liked watching all the teams in the SEC."
Willis originally played at Pahokee (Fla.) High School before making his way to Arizona Western. He had three years to complete two years of eligibility at his next stop.
"Kentucky says they have a bunch of young DBs and could use someone with some experience in the secondary," said Willis, who says he is being recruited by new safeties coach Bradley Dale Peveto. "They like how I'm versatile. I'm fast enough to play corner and big enough to play safety if needed. I can play any of the spots in the secondary. They also think I could help in the return game and just have an overall big impact on their team as they try to come up in the SEC."
Asked what he'll be looking for on his official visit, Willis said: "Just getting a feel for the atmosphere and the environment, how the coaches and players interact with each other, the depth charts, that kind of thing."
Regarding Baylor, Willis said he has a much longer relationship with the Bears than the Wildcats, which could be a factor in his final decision.
"Their coaches have been on me ever since I was a sophomore and they stayed on me when I came out here," Willis said. "I've got a real strong relationship with them. Plus, it's a good program and great school."
However, Willis says Baylor has more players returning in the secondary than UK, so that could be another factor to watch.
"I'm not afraid of competition, though," he said. "I'm sure I could still go in and help (Baylor) right away."
Willis is unsure if he'll make an official visit to Baylor before signing day. "I pretty much know enough about them," he said.
He previously visited Mississippi State and West Virginia, but is no longer considering those programs. He also dropped Kansas State and South Florida from his finalists because communication had begun to slow down.
As a sophomore at Arizona Western, Willis had four pass break-ups and one interception.
Cats among finalists for juco DB
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