Q&A with future Beav LB: Jonathan Willis

CORVALLIS – By now, most Beaver fans know Jonathan Willis, who projects at linebacker at the next level, is Oregon State-bound but what you might not know is that he plays a mean defensive end at Booker T. Washington High. Or rather, he used to play d-end…

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Wilson-McGrath: Has OSU specified where they want you playing, whether you will be a strongside, weakside or middle linebacker?
Willis: "They talked to me about outside linebacker."

You are playing defensive end at Booker T. Washington right now, correct?
"This week we switched up our defense, so now I'm the outside linebacker."

Is that a big change compared to what you were used to doing?
"I've played (outside linebacker) before, but that was at another school. So I'm kind of used to it."

What did OSU say they like about you so much that they offered?
"It was my speed and being able to tackle in open space."

Which member of the staff was your area recruiter?
"Coach (Trent) Bray. (He) sounds like somebody I can communicate with. Someone I can get along with."

What in the end made the difference for you -- in other words, the catalyst for your decision to attend OSU and what do your parents think about you heading to the Pacific Northwest for college?
"I just felt like I would do well, going there. And they didn't mind, I didn't really talk too much about it though."

Were there other schools that had not offered but you thought they might be getting close to doing so?
"Yes, there was one. I was talking to K-State for a little bit… (Oklahoma) sent me a couple (letters) too."

Did you attend very many school camps this past summer?
"I went to three camps, I think it was the ULM camp and the OU camp. Oh yeah, and I went to OSU's too."

Had other schools offered you aside from OSU?
"There were a couple. I think it was like, two D-II schools that had offered me."

Have you scheduled an official visit to Oregon State?
"If we (can't) get an official visit during my season because of games, then I would try after my season is over."

Height, weight, 40 time?
"My last 40 time – when we ran on the track - was a 4.4, I think. My height was about 6-2, the weight was 200 (then)."

OSU senior linebacker Michael Doctor hails from the same town and high school– did you know of him prior to committing?
"There was somebody that told me about him a couple months ago. I looked him up."

Did knowing that a former LB from your High School had found success in Corvallis influence you one way or the other as a student-athlete?
"Yes it did… I just thought about it, and thought I could fit in there too."

You had 23 tackles and five sacks through three games at defensive end, going up against larger o-linemen. Do you have a goal for what you might close out the season with production wise?
"My personal goal as a D-end was to get about 15-20 sacks. Right now, I have one since I moved to linebacker."

What do you think are your best attributes on the football field?
"My speed, and being able to read my keys and run off the block."

One Publisher in our network said he saw you play live this season and he said you go stronger as the game goes on and that he thinks OSU got a steal in you – what motivates you to keep your motor running all game long like that?
"When I'm having fun, I just…play. When I'm having fun, I do good."

What is it that you are looking forward to most at Oregon State?
"The teamwork, how the team works together in a game and how they help each other win."

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