football

Clemson verbal Willis talks

Highland Springs, Va. has produced some quality D-1 talent over the last few years since head coach Scott Burton took over the program. Offensive lineman Tony Willis is the latest from the school to commit.
"I visited Clemson four weeks ago and I loved it," said the 6-foot-6, 310-pounder. "I wanted to commit right when I got home, but my dad told me to take a few weeks and see if the feeling stuck. It did and I committed on Saturday."
Willis contacted coach Bowden directly on Saturday and loved the coaching staff at Clemson.
"Coach Lovette, coach Bowden, coach West -- they were all great," he said. "They were pretty excited when I committed. They want me as an offensive tackle."
Willis' father, John Thomas, played college football at North Carolina AT&T and currently coaches the offensive line at Highland Springs.
"Tony is still growing and I think he'll end up at 6-foot-7 at least," he said. "He's a very good run blocker and the way Clemson runs their offense, he should pick that up quickly. He needs to work on his pass protection and working in space, but that should come in time. He's still learning."
Willis' father stands 6-foot-2 and weighs in at 380 pounds while his mother is 5-foot-10. The talented offensive lineman would like to get his weight down to 290 pounds by the time he steps on campus at Clemson.
"I think I can do it," he said. "I'm working really hard running, lifting and doing agility drills."
The other offensive line coach at Highland Springs, Gary Frank, has coached Tony longer than anyone.
"I've been with him since he got here and he's a great athlete for his size," said Frank. "I saw him in eighth grade and he was 6-foot-4 and around 300 pounds. Since then he's added muscle and a lot of strength. He understands the game and body position so leverage is not a problem. He gets low on defense (as a defensive tackle) and basketball has helped him with bending his knees.
"Tony also has long arms and uses them well. He has all the tools to be a very good one."
Willis chose Clemson for more than just the coaching staff.
"I felt very comfortable there and it's not too far away so I won't get homesick," he said. "The people are very nice, they were the first school to offer me and I feel the pressure is off me now. I can enjoy my senior season."
Willis also had heavy interest from Virginia, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, NC State and others.
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