From the start, the whole Gerald Willis situation was a bit odd. Nearly a year ago, the Gators seemed to come out of nowhere to snag this heralded five-star recruit. A gifted edge rusher who could harass the quarterback, the commitment and ultimate signing was a huge boost for a team coming off a four-win season.
But Willis never materialized into a first-year star. That was understandable. First, he was a first-year player. Getting acclimated to college, speed of the game, the step up to the SEC, all of it. And beyond that, he was joining a team with very good, established defensive ends. Dante Fowler was one of the best in the country. Jon Bullard, although he spent much time at tackle, wasn’t far behind. Then Bryan Cox Jr. And Alex McCallister. And on and on.
So it’s no big shock that the new guy, even with his five-star label, didn’t take the world by storm out of the gate. But the trouble along the way was not so understandable.
There was the much publicized fight between Willis and backup quarterback Skyler Morningweg over a pair of shoes. Then the inexcusable cheap shot on FSU quarterback Jameis Winston on the Florida sideline when he wasn’t even in the game, a move that got him sent to the locker room for the rest of the game by his own staff.
And of course, he missed the bowl game amidst word that he was soon to be gone from the team after another run in with a teammate. Some reports had him hoping to land at Texas A&M.
Then, the latest. Willis is back. In recent days, many reports surfaced that the freshman is back in school
and is scheduled to meet with athletic department or team officials in hopes of reinstatement to the football team. That is where is appears to stand for now.
What to make of it all? Obviously, Willis is a much coveted talent. But his penchant for trouble seems just as obvious. And questions always will remain about whether he can get along with teammates and stay out of trouble. Who knows?
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