Willis lands LSU offer

At Byrnes High, winning has become as commonplace as pulling out the pads and suiting up. After helping the Rebels earn their sixth South Carolina state title in seven seasons, defensive end Brandon Willis is ready to dive into his recruitment process. This past week, LSU head coach Les Miles came calling. Of course, Willis was all ears.

When you are a key piece to one of the nation's richest high school football programs, it can be expected that you will garner national attention. For defensive lineman Brandon Willis, however, some offers still evoke the emotion of disbelief.

 

"I got pretty excited when I found out that LSU offered, because I didn't really know if I believed it or not," Willis said with a laugh. "It felt really good, because LSU is a big time program. When you think of defensive linemen you can see that LSU has put a lot of big names into the NFL, and that is big for me. Seeing top names at the combine every spring is exactly what you want in a school that can take you to the next level."

 

Of course, Willis' fellow Rebel defensive lineman Corey Miller also got some good news last week by way of the Bayou Bengals, giving the Byrnes standouts a double dose of excitement courtesy of the Tiger staff.

 

"Corey called me out of the blue and was pretty much screaming," Willis said. "I told him to calm down. ‘Brandon, I just got offered by LSU!' he said. We are definitely pretty excited, and I know that Marcus [Lattimore] and I are trying to get down there for the Spring Game to see more about what the program has to offer, because we have never even been to Louisiana."

 

After the phone conversation with coach Miles last week, where do the Tigers stand as they enter the race for Willis' services?

 

"I am still wide open and I am really not trying to cut anyone out," he said. "I am not going to short change anyone, so seeing what each school has to offer is really important to me. This is a life changing decision, so I don't want to ever have to wonder what a school could have done for me because I had cut them out too early.

 

"Coach Miles said that he really liked what he saw from me, so the interest is there on both sides," added Willis. "I am going to look more at their depth chart when I get over on a visit, because getting the chance to get on the field is big for me as well. Still, with names like Glenn Dorsey coming out of the program, I am just honored to be someone coach Miles would want on the team."

 

As for where he stands moving forward, the four-star defensive end said that each week brings a new side to the equation.

 

"Things are still crazy right now with interest coming in, so I am not really thinking about where I am leaning or any of that," Willis said. "USC called last Friday to tell me that they were interested, so that is the most recent news. The last three offers have been LSU, Alabama and Florida."

 

As for who has been recruiting him the hardest, head coach Bobby Bowden and the Seminoles still hold that prize.

 

"Florida State has been on Corey and I since the beginning of our recruitment process," Willis said. "They send handwritten letters almost everyday, so that feels good. Georgia was recruiting me pretty hard as well, but I have not heard from them in a while. Really, I am just going to focus on my offers. Right now I have about ten, so I am definitely feeling good."

 

Where does the six-foot-four, 257-pound lineman see himself projecting at the college level?

 

"That is still up in the air," Willis said. "Some schools want me as a defensive tackle and others like me staying as a defensive end. I think that a lot of coaches see me growing into a tackle, but it is really no difference to me. LSU has not really specified where they would want me, so I will know more when I meet the staff and they can get an eye on me."

 

Willis finished his championship season with 144 tackles (24 for a loss) and 13 sacks.

 


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\"I got pretty excited when I found out that LSU offered, because I didn't really know if I believed it or not,\" Willis said with a laugh. \"It felt really good, because LSU is a big time program. When you think of defensive linemen you can see that LSU has put a lot of big names into the NFL, and that is big for me. Seeing top names at the combine every spring is exactly what you want in a school that can take you to the next level.\"

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Of course, Willis' fellow Rebel defensive lineman Corey Miller also got some good news last week by way of the Bayou Bengals, giving the Byrnes standouts a double dose of excitement courtesy of the Tiger staff.

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\"Corey called me out of the blue and was pretty much screaming,\" Willis said. \"I told him to calm down. ‘Brandon, I just got offered by LSU!' he said. We are definitely pretty excited, and I know that Marcus [Lattimore] and I are trying to get down there for the Spring Game to see more about what the program has to offer, because we have never even been to Louisiana.\"

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After the phone conversation with coach Miles last week, where do the Tigers stand as they enter the race for Willis' services?

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\"I am still wide open and I am really not trying to cut anyone out,\" he said. \"I am not going to short change anyone, so seeing what each school has to offer is really important to me. This is a life changing decision, so I don't want to ever have to wonder what a school could have done for me because I had cut them out too early.

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\"Coach Miles said that he really liked what he saw from me, so the interest is there on both sides,\" added Willis. \"I am going to look more at their depth chart when I get over on a visit, because getting the chance to get on the field is big for me as well. Still, with names like Glenn Dorsey coming out of the program, I am just honored to be someone coach Miles would want on the team.\"

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As for where he stands moving forward, the four-star defensive end said that each week brings a new side to the equation.

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\"Things are still crazy right now with interest coming in, so I am not really thinking about where I am leaning or any of that,\" Willis said. \"USC called last Friday to tell me that they were interested, so that is the most recent news. The last three offers have been LSU, Alabama and Florida.\"

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As for who has been recruiting him the hardest, head coach Bobby Bowden and the Seminoles still hold that prize.

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\"Florida State has been on Corey and I since the beginning of our recruitment process,\" Willis said. \"They send handwritten letters almost everyday, so that feels good. Georgia was recruiting me pretty hard as well, but I have not heard from them in a while. Really, I am just going to focus on my offers. Right now I have about ten, so I am definitely feeling good.\"

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Where does the six-foot-four, 257-pound lineman see himself projecting at the college level?

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\"That is still up in the air,\" Willis said. \"Some schools want me as a defensive tackle and others like me staying as a defensive end. I think that a lot of coaches see me growing into a tackle, but it is really no difference to me. LSU has not really specified where they would want me, so I will know more when I meet the staff and they can get an eye on me.\"

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Willis finished his championship season with 144 tackles (24 for a loss) and 13 sacks.

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