First things first, Miami’s defense is absolutely stacked this season. For the first three quarters against FIU, which is all that was played by the first-team defense yesterday, they gave 48 total-yards, helping the Hurricanes win 31-17.
The anchor of this years defense has been defensive tackle Gerald Willis III. After taking 2017 off, the former-Gator is having one the best seasons by a Hurricane defensive lineman so far in years.
At some point in your life you should wanna prove them haters wrong.... pic.twitter.com/r4cRgjH5ms— Gerald Willis III (@gw3_9) September 23, 2018
Against the Panthers yesterday, Willis once again dominated. The senior not only led Miami in tackles, but added on three more tackles for loss. Willis helped the Hurricanes in stifling the Panthers offense to just 17 yards rushing.
Though just four games into the season, Willis’ stats are straight ridiculous. In those four games, Willis leads the team with nine solo tackles, TFLs and also sacks. Willis has eight TFLs, which is tied for second in the country.
Gerald Willis III is so good. I just laugh watching him dominate.— StateOfTheU.com (@TheStateOfTheU) September 22, 2018
With the departure of fellow d-lineman like R.J. McIntosh and Chad Thomas, it was unsure how the Canes unit down front would hold up. However, if you look at the defense and their production in 2018, its even better than last years.
With Willis anchoring the front four and the rest of the defense, Miami has given up over 100 yards of rushing just twice, which is goof for fifth in the country Opponents are averaging just 2.2 yards a carry agains this Hurricanes defense.
And its not just the run game that Willis has helped Miami’s defense improve. Opponents completion percentage has dropped from 57% to 49%. Through the first four games of 2017, opposing teams were averaging 387 yards of total offense a game. In 2018, that number has dropped dramatically to 223 yards a game.
Put simply, Willis has transformed Miami’s defense into one of the elites in the country.