Monday, March 14, 2011

Departed lineman Willis returns to UNC football team

The unique path of Brandon Willis' college football career has brought him back to Chapel Hill.

The University of North Carolina confirmed today that Willis, a defensive lineman, has transferred back to UNC after spending the 2010 season at UCLA.

UNC will apply to the NCAA for a waiver to get him on the field this season. Willis' brief college career has already been eventful without him playing a game.

A prep All-American from Duncan, S.C., Willis, originally committed to Tennessee but changed his mind after coach Lane Kiffin left for USC. Willis enrolled at UNC last January and participated in spring practice. In August, he decided to transfer to UCLA, citing the relocation of his father's job and the need to be closer to his family.

Willis sat out the 2010 season with the Bruins under NCAA eligibility rules. Earlier this month, UCLA granted him his release from his commitment because Willis, and his father, wanted to move closer to Willis' grandmother in Burlington.

Gary Willis said last Wednesday that the plan was for his son to return to UNC. The school sent out a release today confirming the decision.

"There were no hard feelings when Brandon originally left and when he inquired about the possibility of returning, we welcomed him back," Tar Heels coach Butch Davis said in a statement released by the school.

Willis, 6-3 and 255 pounds, was one of the best defensive line prospects in the country in his recruiting class.

Willis' return gives the Tar Heels' already stout defensive front a boost. UNC lost five-star recruit Delvon Simmons last week when he asked for his release from his Letter of Intent.

Willis joins a promising group that includes Kareem Martin and Tim Jackson, who were pressed into duty as freshman when UNC lost starters Robert Quinn, Marvin Austin and Michael McAdoo to the NCAA investigation.

Starters Quinton Coples, Tydreke Powell and Donte Paige-Moss also return for the Tar Heels, who went 8-5 last season.

Spring practice begins on Wednesday.

-- J.P. Giglio


UT and UNC fan NOT said...

Did he bring the booster girls from UT with him that he met in high school?

Anonymous said...

Is anyone in charge over there in UNC-CHeat land? UNC. The most corrupt administration and athletics department in the NCAA. CONgratulations Butch Davis for ruining the reputation of a once fine institution. OVER FOOTBALL.

Anonymous said...

Where are all the UNC fans that talked mad #*)(# about this kid when he left....oh that's right. They are the same ones welcoming him back with open arms.

UNC - to seem, rather than to be.

Someone should shut that shade ball institution down.

Anonymous said...

And what exactly is so dirty, corrupt, unethical, blah, blah about this? You fools post the same crap on so many UNC articles you can just cut and paste them at this point without even reading. Sounds like he's a little flighty (as a college freshman...shocking!), or maybe his parents are, but beyond wasting a lot of his time, what's wrong with what's happened? Anyone with a non-Twitter reading level wanna tackle this one?