Willis Ready to Announce

SAN ANTONIO --- Brandon Willis is days away from announcing his collegiate destination.

"I pretty much know where I want to be at – I'm just waiting to announce," Willis said. "I'm looking forward to it. My high school career is over so this is the next thing."

Willis' announcement will occur during Saturday's U.S. Army All-American Bowl. The 6-foot-4, 250-pound defensive tackle from Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes says his announcement will include hats from five schools: California, Miami, North Carolina, Tennessee, and UCLA.

"They felt like home to me," Willis said of his five finalists. "… The way I looked at it: can I go to school there if I wasn't playing football? – that was the big key for me."

The school Willis will select Saturday, however, made him equally comfortable with both the non-football and football aspects.

"When I went in, I adapted with the players real well," Willis said. "The coaches, they and I got along very well. It was just a good visit and good times there; and it wasn't just one time – it was consistent."

Willis has visited all five finalists and made official trips to Miami, UNC, Tennessee, and UCLA.

Just days following his announcement, Willis will enroll at the school that he chooses.

In mid-September, Willis verbally committed to Tennessee, but continued to visit other schools. Just before leaving for San Antonio, he officially de-committed from the Volunteers.

"I just wanted to be open," Willis said of his decision to de-commit. "I didn't want to be locked down saying I was committed. I wanted to be open and weigh out my options."

Willis says Tennessee is still an option. However, the NCAA's investigation into the use of hostesses has had a negative effect on his feelings toward the Volunteers.

"It's going to be a secondary violation," Willis said. "But as long as it's not going to be probation – you don't want to walk into something like that."

When he de-committed, Willis reportedly narrowed his options to UNC and UCLA.

Regarding UNC, Willis said he likes the idea of playing under John Blake, the Tar Heels' defensive line coach.

"Coach Blake is a great coach," Willis said. "He develops players very well. I also have a good relationship."

Blake has also established a good relationship with Willis' father, who grew up in Chapel Hill.

Also enticing at UNC is the available playing time along the defensive line.

"Anywhere you want to go, you want to go and try to get early playing time," Willis said. "The sooner you get on the field, the better you develop [and] the more you learn. You can learn in practice, but nothing can truly match playing in a game."

Outside of his announcement, Willis will be representing the East in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. He's been practicing at strong-side defensive end on the East's "Black Team" (starting group).

"It's more of contain like I played at Byrnes," Willis said. "I'm reading the quarterback, squeezing the tackles, fighting the double-team when there's a tight end."

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