What you talkin’ ’bout Willis?

Darius Willis speaks with coach Lance Scheib prior to the announcement.

Let’s get some of the rudimentary facts on Darius Willis out of the way first.

Scout.com ranked him the No. 2 overall player in the state and the 43rd best running back in the country.

He’s rushed for 3,005 yards at Franklin Central the past two years. He’s also scored 43 rushing TDs.

He’s also a star on the track team, and said that his goal for the spring is nothing short of a state championship ring.

Track, incidentally, is how Indiana started recruiting Willis. The Hoosier coaching staff saw him running his sophomore year and contacted him then. They offered a scholarship at the beginning of his junior year.

At that time, Willis’ coaches were sure he had the physical ability to be a Division I football player. They just weren’t sure that he had the work ethic to make it, or the vision to play his favored position of running back.

In fact, Flashes head coach Lance Scheib had called Wills over the summer to discuss the need for him to work harder both on and off the field. He even suggested that Willis might be better off transferring.

Not surprisingly, Willis got the message.

“It made me think a little bit, I know that,” Willis said. “Working hard, I wasn’t used to that. When somebody told me to do something, I wasn’t used to that either.”

According to Scheib, who has been a head coach for 16 years, he’s never had a player work harder than Willis. He improved at holding onto the ball (he only fumbled once his senior year, and that was on a pitch he failed to catch) and learned to have vision and patience by spending hours watching film.

Along the way, Willis was also as genuine and unselfish a player as Scheib has ever coached.

“What he did off the field speaks more for who he is than what he did on the field,” Scheib said.

Willis’ commitment seems to at least partially answer one of the biggest questions surrounding Indiana head coach Bill Lynch. Many wondered whether he’d be able to recruit Indiana well enough. Certainly the respect Scheib and the other coaches at Franklin Central have for both Bill and Billy played a factor here.

We’ll have more coverage, including video of the announcement, later today.

4 comments

  1. I’ve seen this kid play in person and he CAN play
    he made high school defenses look like pop-warner teams…IU is lucky to have him

  2. I hope he is good… After that article you would think he is Touchdown Jesus!

    Who was our last 4 star running back?

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