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Thursday, November 7, 2013
Willis III takes different path than brother

By Greg Ostendorf

In two months, ESPN 300 defensive end Gerald Willis III (New Orleans/Edna Karr) will make his college decision at the Under Armour All-America Game -- just like his brother, Landon Collins. However, the two couldn’t be any more different.

“It’s night and day,” said April Justin, the boys’ mother. “Landon is outgoing and outspoken, and Gerald mostly shies away from that. He keeps to himself. He sits back, and he watches.”

Gerald Willis
ESPN 300 DT Gerald Willis is down to a final three of Texas A&M, LSU and Florida.
Collins was a five-star recruit who attended Dutchtown High School, just up the road from LSU’s campus. He moved there from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. But when it came time to make his college decision, he famously went against his mother’s wishes and committed to Alabama. Now he’s starting for the Crimson Tide.

Now it’s Willis’ turn.

He, too, is a top-30 recruit, coveted by many of the biggest programs in the country. He compet-ed in the same camps over the summer, and he’s set to play in the same all-star game as his brother. But that’s where the similarities end.

“Gerald handles [recruiting] totally different,” Justin said. “The way he handles it is he doesn’t. He focuses on what’s now and that’s football and getting back to the dome (for the state championship). Landon was more outgoing and more interested and involved with the recruiting.”

That’s part of the reason why Willis isn’t even considering playing with his brother at Alabama. He wants to make his own decision and has narrowed his list to three schools -- Florida, LSU and Texas A&M.

He’s already taken his official visit to Texas A&M, and he’s scheduled to visit Florida this weekend. However, earlier in the week, he told his mom that he’d rather attend Saturday’s Ala-bama-LSU game so he could see his brother play. He’s about had it with the recruiting process.

“It’s totally different,” Justin said. “Landon wanted to go and visit campus, get acquainted and get familiar. Gerald’s like, ‘I don’t want to deal with it.’

“It’s because for the last two years when Landon was going through it, I dragged him through the whole process. He’s so familiar with it. I think he made up his mind, but he hasn’t narrowed it down to me yet.”

After some deliberation, Willis will ultimately take his official visit to Florida this weekend to see the Gators host Vanderbilt. Even Justin, who admittedly doesn’t want to see her son go that far away, knows that he needs to at least see all the school has to offer.

So while his brother will be playing in what many tabbed as the game of the year in college foot-ball, Willis will be in Gainesville, Fla., watching it on TV.

Not to worry, though. Regardless of which school he chooses, Willis will have the opportunity to play against his brother next year as the Crimson Tide are scheduled to play all three of his final-ists. Willis just wants to get to that point.

“He’s just ready to get it over with, get in college and be on the other side of the field, pointing fingers at his brother,” Justin said.