ASU battling SEC powers for top in-state recruit
Willis says he remembers back when he did not have one offer from any school in the country, and recently the Marcos de Niza superstar defensive back had to narrow his list of choices down to 16 schools. The list reads like a who's who of college football: LSU, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Florida, Florida State, Oregon, USC, UCLA, Oklahoma, Michigan, plus a few others.
One of those other schools that made Willis' final 16 was Arizona State. The Sun Devils were the very first team to offer him, which sometimes can create an instant bond between athlete and school. Not to mention the fact that he plays his high school football just down the street from the heart of the ASU campus at Tempe Marcos de Niza.
Just so you know, Willis is a physical specimen at 6'2", 195 pounds and he has the size and speed (he runs a 4.4 40- yard dash) to play at a very high level during his college career. Willis has played corner in high school where he shows great tackling ability and does not miss a step when it comes to covering receivers, as he completely manhandles them.
Many coaches and scouts believe that as the five-star cornerback grows he could transition into a safety because of his size/speed combination.
"I want to be a defensive back," Willis told Scout.com. "If they want to put me at safety or cornerback, I'll play either. I don't want to limit myself to just corner, I think I bring value and can contribute more if I can play more than one position."
The past couple of years the Devils have let the top in- state recruits slip out of their hands and into the hands of Auburn and Texas. New head football coach Todd Graham needs to change that trend right now. If Coach Graham could convince Willis to become a Sun Devil, it could be exactly what Arizona State needs to turn that corner and become an elite college football program.
It would send a message to all other big time recruits in the state of Arizona if Willis stayed home and wore the maroon and gold. It would tell them that ASU is the place to go if you are from Arizona, that this team is going to win, and that this team is going places that these kids want to go.
That may be easier said then done though. Willis seems very interested in LSU, Nebraska, Notre Dame, and Florida and has set up official visits to three of the schools and an unofficial to the fourth.
Only time will tell on this one as Willis is in no hurry to make his commitment anytime soon. He said he would like to commit before the Scottsdale (AZ) Chaparral game, which takes place during week two for Willis and Marcos De Niza, but later said he hopes he can just decide before the Under Armor game.
Even though the decision most likely will not be made until January, the pressure is already starting to build around the state as to where Priest Willis will go to college. For Coach Graham and company it could be just what the doctor ordered, Willis would instantly inject some energy and momentum into the Devils football program, and really start the ball rolling on the complete culture change Coach Graham wants to make in Tempe.
- Steve Patterson, ASU athletic director - Tuesday May 14Patterson talks to the guys about the Territorial Cup & scheduling with Notre Dame Football
- Steve Patterson, ASU athletic director - Tuesday May 7Patterson talks to Doug & Wolf about the state of Sun Devil Athletics
- Steve Patterson, ASU Athletic Director - Thursday May 2Doug and Wolf talk to Patterson about the latest news coming out of the Pac-12 meetings.
- Brandon Magee , Former ASU Linebacker - Wednesday May 1Doug & Wolf ask Brandon Magee about signing with the Cowboys after going undrafted.
- Steve Patterson, ASU Athletic Director - Tuesday April 23Patterson talks to Doug and Wolf about ASU football games potentially being played at Chase field du