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Gerald Willis III Listed in ESPN’s Breakout Players of the Spring in Top 25

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The defensive tackle has shown progression after returning from his leave of absence in 2017

ACC Football Championship - Clemson v Miami Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Gerald Willis III is fighting an uphill battle and he’s finally winning. From the sideline shoving of Jameis Winston against Florida State in 2014 to being dismissed by the University of Florida, the five-star prospect’s college career has been a rocky one at the very least. Fortunately, it seems like The U is the place that fits just right for him, even if his time a part of the team has never always been as smooth. Though the New Orleans native raked in 13 tackles in the 9 games he did play in 2016, he was suspended the first game of that season due to team violations and took a leave of absence the following year for family issues, according to a recent interview.

However, Willis is back for the 2018 season and not only has he been showing progression during spring practices as he continues to rebuild chemistry with teammates, but also catching the attention of both coaches and reporters thanks to his pure talent and now rejuvenated work ethic. This is why it’s not surprising that Willis III was recognized as #8 breakout player from a Top 25 program, according to ESPN. It’s clear that his talent will be valued at the U now that he’s back, but Andrea Adelson mentions in her clip that coaches are happy about his development. Since defensive linemen Kendrick Norton, Chad Thomas, and RJ McIntosh were all drafted to NFL teams two weeks ago, there’s a very good chance Willis will be starting for the Canes in the 2018 season.