The Miami Hurricanes lost quite a bit upfront on their defensive line this offseason, but the hope is Gerald Willis III is able to fill at least one of the holes at defensive tackle.
So far, so good for Willis, as ESPN called him the top breakout candidate for the Hurricanes during the spring.
Willis has been a bit of an unknown since he transferred to the Hurricanes. After sitting out 2015 because of transfer rules, he missed last season for personal reasons. But Willis seems to have turned a corner, as coaches mentioned how far he has grown both on the field and off. He was virtually unblockable this spring.
If Willis is able to nail down a starting role with the Hurricanes, he would quickly become one of the top redemption stories in college football. Last season, he was delegated to practicing on the scout team but ended up taking “a leave of absence” in order to get “his life in order.” Willis also sat out in 2015 after transferring from Florida.
In 2016 with the Hurricanes, he posted 19 total tackles, including 5.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks.
Miami had three defensive linemen drafted in 2018, so Willis has a clear path to become a starter this fall. Defensive end Chad Thomas went No. 67 overall in the third round. Defensive tackles R.J. McIntosh and Kendrick Norton heard their names called on Day 3 in the fifth and seventh rounds, respectively.