Dudley E. Dawson is a reporter for Hawgs Illustrated. A graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a voter for the Heisman Trophy.
Georgia Tech pledge Willis takes look at Razorbacks
As the only one of Arkansas' seven official visitors committed to another school, Leesburg (Ga.) Lee County linebacker Jaron Willis needed to see something big.
While Willis (6-2, 220) left Fayetteville still committed to Georgia Tech, he at least was given something to think about in terms of the Razorbacks’ chances.
"I can say they kind of flipped – not like flipped my commitment – but I can say it's better than a virtual visit,” Willis said. “It's been virtual for so long, now it's like everything in one. It's like, this is Arkansas and this is what Arkansas is about."
Willis, a four-star prospect and top-150 player nationally, per 247 Sports, who was hosted by linebacker Deon Edwards, described Leesburg and Fayetteville as similar.
“It's something that I can say I expected coming in,” Willis said. “On the plane ride, just seeing what I can see in Leesburg, it's somewhat of a country/city-like town, just running through the backwoods and seeing the cows. It feels like home.
"The visit was great. Just trying to reel it back in and enjoy the opportunity they're giving me right now."
He visited Arkansas with Lee County tight end Tyrus Washington.
"Definitely something that felt good,” Willis said. “Not only is Tyrus my family, but for me and him to sit side-by-side and see the same thing, that's what we usually talk about, having the opportunity to get this opportunity. Now it's finally here and it feels like we're floating."
Arkansas’ strength and conditioning facility stood out to Willis.
“For me, in my eyes, it's not a flashy weight room,” Willis said. “It's not a 'look here' type of weight room. I'm not into flashy things. But how Arkansas' room is set up, it's almost perfect for me. It's not too flashy, everything's in one spot, and the strength and conditioning coaches will work with you and try to develop you as a player."
Willis' lead recruiter is Arkansas linebackers coach Michael Scherer.
"I could see myself playing for Coach Scherer,” Willis said. “We had a good bond before this visit anyway, so just having an opportunity to talk to him and sitting down with Coach Pittman is just a blessing."
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