- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
BUFORD, Ga. -- In 2011, Landon Collins earned an invitation to The Opening. He followed that up by taking home the SPARQ ratings national championship during his time in Oregon. Now it’s his little brother’s turn.
ESPN Watch List defensive tackle Gerald Willis III (New Orleans/Edna Karr) made the trip from Louisiana to Atlanta to compete in Saturday’s NFTC. It paid off as Willis earned his invitation to The Opening and will head to Oregon this summer.
“It would be something to get out of Louisiana and go way up North,” Willis said. “It would be a good experience as well. I just want to go up there and see how it looks. I’ll probably make a trip and go visit the Oregon Ducks.”
Willis says he wants to follow in his brother’s footsteps when he makes the trip out there. However, he may choose a different path when it comes to recruiting. He currently has a top three of Florida, LSU and Texas A&M.
Florida: “When I went up there, I just felt so comfortable. I just felt like I was at home. Derek Lewis, he made me feel like I was at home, and Coach [Will] Muschamp told me, ‘I’m not trying to BS you. I’m looking for defensive ends, pass rushers. That’s all I need, and you’re one of them.’"
LSU: “Coach Brick Haley, of course he’s a cool dude. I know a lot of guys who are over there because they’re from the same area we’re from at home. Coach Frank [Wilson] is from the same area, the same school community. I know him real well. Like I said, Coach Brick, he knows everything. He’s a cool dude, plus it’s DL-U over there.
Texas A&M: “I’m just looking into them. If I do go there, I’m not going to be by myself. I know a guy who played for Brother Martin, and now he’s over there starting as a freshman. I know if he could start as a freshman, I could probably start as a freshman -- work hard just like he did.”
The one school noticeably absent from the list is the same school his brother, a fellow Louisiana native, chose to go play football -- the University of Alabama.
“I’m still looking at them, but they’re not in my top group,” Willis said. “Of course, Landon is still recruiting me to see if I will come. He said if I do come to their school, he’ll stay one more year. I’m still looking into them, trying to see how they’re going to do this year.
“I’m going to look at their defensive line. I just have to look at their roster, get some information on them.”
This weekend, Willis will get a first-hand look at the Crimson Tide as he plans to visit for A-Day. It will also give he and his brother a chance to spend some time together. Collins, a five-star safety, is vying for a starting role on this year’s team.
“I’m excited to get over there because he’s excited as well,” Willis said. “He’s got to prove his point, so he can get on the field and start.”
Willis still plans to announce his decision at the Under Armour All-America Game, just like his older brother.