Willis Almost Set For UCLA

The paperwork is being finalized for the defensive line transfer from North Carolina, Brandon Willis, and if all goes accordingly, he could be practicing with the Bruins next week...

If all goes as planned, UCLA will have Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes defensive lineman Brandon Willis practicing with the Bruins as early as next week.

"UNC sent the release today, so we're just working and finalizing the paperwork today and hopefully everything will be set tomorrow," said his father, Gary Willis.

Willis signed with North Carolina out of Byrnes and participated in the spring. But with the death of his mother a year ago and the move of his family from South Carolina to the West Coast, Willis chose to leave the Tar Heels and go to UCLA, who was one of his three finalists when he chose North Carolina.

"Coach (John) Blake said when Brandon left that UCLA was where he should go and he wasn't upset at all, they knew it was a family reason. Coach (Butch) Davis understood because it was about our family. It wasn't bitter, it was sweet," said Gary Willis. "Coach (Todd) Howard was one of the coaches who came by the school when they were recruiting Brandon and they have a good relationship and he and Coach (Rick) Neuheisel have been very good to him."

Willis will enroll in time for the fall, but will redshirt the 2010 season because of the NCAA transfer rule. However, he can workout with the team and the goal is to be a part of the two-deep in 2011.

"He's 6-3, 281 pounds right now and they want him to come in and play defensive end," said Gary Willis. "He's excited about it and the opportunity. I always said that when a kid is happy, he's at his best and Brandon will be at his best at UCLA."

Willis was a U.S. Army All-American last year and one of the premier defensive linemen in the country and will bolster an ever-improving defensive line for UCLA, an area in which they typically struggled to recruit, but signed arguably their best defensive line class in 2010 with two other U.S. Army All-American's in Owamagbe Odighizuwa and Cassius Marsh.

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