The Clemson coaching staff has now secured its seventh commitment of the 2003-04 recruiting campaign in Highland Springs, Va. offensive lineman Tony Willis (6-6, 310, 5.2).
"I'm going to meet with my high school coach around 12:30 or 1:00 pm. My dad and I are going to go sit in his office and we're all going to call Coach (John) Lovett. You can go ahead and put me down as a Clemson commitment. I am going to Clemson," said Willis at 11:23 AM Saturday morning.
"I've just decided the time is right for me to go ahead and do this. People talk about the right time and waiting until later on, but for me I knew the time was right. And when it feels right you commit."
The mammoth offensive tackle prospect was drawing interest from Virginia, Virginia Tech, North Carolina and NC State before deciding on Clemson.
"Those are all very good schools. They compete and they're all up and coming. But they didn't have what Clemson has. I basically fell in love with Clemson when I visited. The atmosphere and the feeling I got was very positive."
Willis' father, John Thomas, also played collegiate football. And Thomas just happens to be the offensive line coach at Highland Springs as well.
"Some people think I've got it made because my dad coaches me in high school. But they don't know. It's nothing like that at all. He cracks the whip pretty hard (laughing)," says Willis.
An all-state candidate, the 310-pound right tackle becomes the third verbal commitment of the 2003-04 recruiting campaign for the Tigers' offensive line.
The Clemson coaching staff will likely sign as many as six offensive linemen next February on National Signing Day.
Willis projects to be a full-qualifier academically.
Clemson Verbal Commitments For 2003-04
1. Cory Groover (DL 6-3, 282, 4.7) Southwest Mississippi Junior College
2. Bobby Hutchinson (OL 6-4, 270, 4.9) Crawfordville, Fla.
3. Courtney Vincent (LB 6-1, 220, 4.6) Allendale
4. Taylor Tremel (OL 6-4, 260, 5.0) Lake Mary, Fla.
5. Shukree Barfield (DL 6-4, 290, 4.9) Camden, NJ
6. Brandon Croley (DB 6-0, 180, 4.49) Jacksonville, Fla.
7. Tony Willis (OL 6-6, 310, 5.2) Highland Springs, Va.
Cover photo courtesy of Chris Horne.