Thursday, August 19, 2010

Willis leaves Carolina to be closer to his father? I'm not buying it

North Carolina freshman defensive end Brandon Willis, who enrolled in January and has been practicing with the team, has decided to transfer to UCLA, his father says, in order to be closer to him.

I hope that Willis doesn't suspect that Carolina will be penalized harshly from the NCAA in regard to the recent investigation. But, regardless, I'm not buying the explanation.

I understand that Willis' mother died in 2009 and I understand that Willis' father lost his job and found one in California and I understand that family is important and that they want to be close.

But the fact is Willis decided to go to Carolina after his mother died. The fact is that Willis' father was working in Brunswick, Ga. when Willis decided to go to Carolina. So, the fact is that his father was a six and a half hour drive away from Chapel Hill when he decided to go to Carolina. Los Angeles is a six and a half hour flight away from RDU Airport.

Furthermore, a flight from Brunswick to RDU necessitates a connection in Atlanta and takes four and a half hours. Plus, it costs only about 100 bucks less than a flight from Los Angeles.

Gary Willis said he couldn't have accepted the job on the West Coast with his son in Chapel Hill. So what changed from the time he was four and a half hours away by air and six and a half hours away by car?

He says it's nothing against Carolina and that very well may be true but something doesn't seem right. Maybe they all decided that Brunswick was too far anyway and they all wanted to be closer. Maybe he wanted to play his high school position of defensive end, where he will play at UCLA, instead of defensive tackle, where he was playing for the Tar Heels.

Whatever the reason, I'm not buying the official explanation.

Earlier today, UNC head coach Butch Davis said, "His father has been looking for employment and was informed yesterday that he was able to find a job. The unfortunate thing is he found a job in Southern California and he is really adamant about trying to keep his family together. He’s asked both of his sons to join him in moving out there. That’s all that we really know at this time. We’re happy that his father was able to find a job in this economy. Brandon is a good kid and we wish him the best."


  1. I've been informed that it's cheaper to drive to Jacksonville from Brunswick and fly to RDU. But it still takes a combined time of four and a half hours to get to RDU.

  2. Here is Willis' profile as it was posted on tarheelblue.com prior to today.
    "Enrolled at Carolina in January, 2010 • Considered the No. 6 defensive tackle in the country and No. 69 player in the nation by Rivals.com • Member of the Rivals100 team • Ranked the No. 3 player in South Carolina by Rivals.com • Considered the No. 4 player in South Carolina by The Charlotte Observer • Ranked the No. 8 defensive tackle in the country by Scout.com • Rated the No. 5 defensive tackle by ESPN recruiting analyst Tom Lemming • Played in the prestigious U.S. Army All-America game in San Antonio • Earned first-team all-state, all-region and all-conference honors his final two seasons in high school • Named the conference defensive lineman of the year as a senior • Made 127 tackles, including 13 sacks, as a senior • Had 144 tackles, including 24 tackles for loss and 13 sacks, as a junior."