RECRUITING: WR/DB Michael Willis misses the game

ONE OF THE GEMS of WSU's 2004 recruiting class, <b>Michael Willis</b>, did not qualify academically. A feared hitter, Willis was one of those most likely to have seen playing time this season as a true freshman. talked to the former Lincoln High star to find out what he's up to, what his immediate future holds and whether he plans to don the Crimson and Gray come January.

From his safety position, Michael Willis hits like a Mack truck. At wide receiver, he is a game breaking threat to take it into the end zone at any time.

Willis, talented enough to play early on either side of the ball at the next level, and who signed a Letter of Intent to Washington State in February, has been the subject of more than a few rumors since failing to qualify academically.

One such grapevine missive stated that Willis had enrolled at a junior college in California. Another insisted he had firm designs on attending a Div-1 school other than Washington State this coming January.

You can put all of that stuff to rest.

WILLIS WILL TAKE THE SAT in December. Assuming he gets the qualifying test score, he says he will be enrolling at Washington State this January as a grayshirt.

"I signed my name on the dotted line," said Willis, referencing his letter of intent to WSU this past February. "I'm a man of my word. Plus, they stuck with me through a lot of stuff."

Willis said he is currently working very hard academically to attain that score he needs on the SAT. But should things not work out, the 6-3, 205-pound Willis does plan on playing football somewhere by this time next season.

"If I don't get the score I need, then I'll probably end up going to a junior college but I haven't (looked that far ahead yet)...The test is hard, everybody just can't get a qualifying test score, a lot of people go about it too easy."

THE SCHEDULE is full for Willis these days. In addition to preparing for the SAT, he is both working and working out in order to stay in shape.

A naturally strong athlete, he's found it difficult this fall not to be out there on the field, not to be able to play the game he loves.

"It's hard to sit back and watch when in my mind, I feel I should be out there."

"It's not necessarily a bad thing, and everyone has a different story. Some people quit, they don't want to play football anymore, they don't want to do anything anymore. But that's not me. With me, I just want to play football... I don't like sitting out."

A ferocious hitter from his safety spot, Willis may have actually received more honors and accolades on the offensive side of the ball while at Lincoln. At the Pierce County Cougar Club's annual head coach's dinner last March, those in attendance saw why..

Willis caught a screen pass with eight defenders surrounding him. Using his speed and strength, he turned the certain loss into a 13-yard gain.

"I'm going to play football. There's no doubt in my mind. My love for the game is too strong. Whether that's D-1 or junior college, when it gets down to it, I'm going to get to where I want to go."

If things go according to plan over the next couple months, where he wants to go -- and the place where he does go -- is one and the same, Washington State.

Cougfan Top Stories