Big, Smart, and Tall: Willis Has It All

He stands 6 feet 6 inches tall. He weighs 285 pounds. He is ranked 6th in his class of 2008. He achieved a 1400 SAT score (on math and verbal) with no preparation class. He is extremely well spoken. He is 17 years old. He is big ole number 73 roaming the field. His name is Michael Willis.

Work ethic is in his blood and it shows when you look at his test scores and how fast he has become a force on the football field. It was only until recently that Mike Willis has become the imposing force that defensive ends hate to rush against and offensive guards hate to block. He was a late bloomer at Rutherford High School, has now developed into an Ivy and Patriot League prospect, and hopes to become a legitimate Football Bowl Subdivision prospect after attending camps this summer.

His high school coach, Frank Morano, had nothing but the highest praise for Mike saying that he has extreme work ethic, a lot of desire for the game, and outstanding leadership skills. Projecting Mike to play either nose guard or offensive tackle at the next level, Coach Morano says Mike has been working on and continues to improve on his foot speed and his physical flexibility. Coach applauds him by telling "Mike is a hard working kid both on the field and in the classroom and really is the definition of CHARACTER!" He also states it "is a pleasure to work with (coaching) Mike. He does whatever I ask him to do."

Mike's goals for the upcoming year are to "improve his game and take it to the next level." He wants to be seen as an All-County performer for his senior season because his county tends to be very strong in football talent and that would be an accomplishment. He also wants to lead his team to win the division and into the state sectional. He feels they have the talent to be much better than what their 4-6 record showed last year. He feels if he can do all that, he'll become a legitimate FBS prospect which is quite the accomplishment.

Mike has already hit the junior day circuit and is looking at camps to attend. He's attended both Princeton and Columbia's junior days and is going to visit a number of other schools. He is still working out his camp schedule and couldn't commit to any camps thus far, but did state he will hit the camp circuit this summer and intends on visiting Rutgers, among others, in the near future.

As far as schools vying for Mike's services, the main players so far are Ivy League and other Football Championship Subdivision universities. Columbia, Princeton, UPenn, Colgate, and Rhode Island have been the schools who have come after him the hardest so far. Rutgers, Army, and Syracuse are the three FBS programs that have expressed the most interest in having Mike around and see what he can do on the field. He said last week Rutgers visited him at his school and Syracuse has been consistently talking to his coach for a month or so now.

As far as his interests in future destinations, he's mainly pointing toward the Ivy and Patriot Leagues so far. He told that he's been in constant contact with them and feels if he went there he'd have a great opportunity to play. He's not ready to name a top 5 as of yet because he feels he can do much more to improve his standing in the eyes of others. He's keeping his mind open because he understands that with an excellent senior year he can become a FBS recruit and some of his dream schools (Notre Dame, Stanford, and Duke) may come calling. At this time, he's entertaining all potential suitors so he doesn't get set on one school only to have to de-commit. To date, he hasn't received any offers or "Likely Letters" (from the Ivy League) yet.

Regardless, the school that is going to land this future history and political science buff is going to have the academic credentials as well as be a solid football school. He's also not interested in jumping ship to the college ranks midway through his senior season as he wants to enjoy the time with his classmates. To go along with his two main interests, Mike also enjoys hanging out with friend and watching sports. In addition to his love for history and politics, Mike also dabbles in sports writing for the school newspaper. He's multi-talented and well-versed so academics and extra-curricular activities will be a major selling point in his mind.

That being said, a university will be lucky to have such a "low maintenance" player on their football team who has a great work ethic. With a little more training and hard work, all of which Mike is already accustomed to, the opportunities for Mike are going to increase shortly. Better get in contact with him now because his recruiting is starting to take off and you don't want to be left behind!

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