When Gerald Willis and his Edna Karr High School teammates took the field on Friday night in the Superdome, they had one goal in mind: a championship. However, LSU commitment John Diarse and the rest of the Neville offense didn't make it easy on Willis and the rest of the Karr defense.
Willis admitted that he was exhausted following his team's 29-21 victory over Neville from chasing Diarse around all night. With a 4A State Championship now in hand, the 6-3 260-pound defensive end said that it has been great to bring glory back to Edna Karr.
"I just can't believe it finally happened," Willis told TSD following the game. "It's crazy. It's one of the best days of my life. It was a hard fought game against John [Diarse] and Neville but we came out on top. I'm definitely tired from chasing him around all night."
While Willis is satisfied with the way the 2012 season ended, he is already looking ahead to next year, and hopefully a second consecutive championship experience in the Superdome. Willis explained that he is prepared for the hard work that will be required to repeat as state champs.
"I'm going to try my best to get my team back in this Dome next season," said Willis. "I'm going to keep grinding to get better in the offseason and hopefully make it back to this point next year."
Given the small amount of seniors that dressed out for Karr in 2012, Willis is excited about the team's returning personnel.
"We only had a few seniors this year and our backups were really good this year," said Willis. "The biggest thing is that those guys got a lot of meaningful minutes this season and in this game. I think with what we have coming back we will be right back here at this time next year."
With his junior season now complete, Willis explained that he would use his spare time to take visits to the schools that he has the highest interest in. These schools consist of his top four schools, which he recently reported as LSU, Florida, Texas A&M and USC.
"I'm going to start planning visits as soon as possible," said Willis. "I'm going to make my junior visits to LSU, Florida and Texas A&M. I'm going to try to make it out to USC in the near future as well."
Heading into his college visits, Willis has a few topics on his agenda that he plans to discuss with college coaches at his schools of interest. What position he will ultimately end up at in college and how early he can see the field will be huge selling points for Willis, something he looks forward to talking about with the LSU staff first.
"I'm going to be looking at getting on the field as a true freshman," said Willis. "The second thing that I'm going to look at is whether they want me at defensive tackle or end.
"I'm really looking forward to talking to Les Miles and Brick Haley to figure out exactly how they want to use me. I really want to focus on what the D-Line is going to be like with them, not necessarily just end, but the entire D-Line."
Willis knows where he wants to play in college and he feels as though once he speaks with college coaches he will be able to narrow down his list of schools even farther. He explained that his schools of interest are split on where they want him to line up in college. However, one school has already made it clear where he will play for them.
"I want to play defensive end in college and that will determine where I end up going," said Willis. "The schools are pretty split as to where they want me to play for them. LSU is one of the ones that has been discussing me playing only end for them."
When Willis named his top four there were a number of people surprised about the schools that made up his list, mainly because one school that people felt had a realistic shot at landing him was absent from his list. Willis explained his reasoning for leaving that school off of his top list of schools.
"Alabama just doesn't fit my style," said Willis. "I don't feel comfortable at all up there. There is just something about it whenever I go up there to visit my brother (Landon Collins) that gives me a bad vibe about the place. It was a combination of the school and the coaches. I just don't feel comfortable there."
Willis looking forward to future
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