Written By T.J. Inman (@TJHoosierHuddle)
In the words of Kermit the Frog, “we’re moving right along” as the Hoosier Huddle Countdown reaches #43. Today’s player of focus is redshirt freshman linebacker Dameon Willis Jr.
Dameon Willis Jr.
- Height: 6’1”
- Weight: 225 pounds
- Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio (Saint Ignatius)
- Year/Position: Redshirt Freshman/Bandit
Dameon Willis Jr. grew up in the football-rich area of Cleveland, Ohio and fulfilled a dream of many young men when he won a state championship at Saint Ignatius in 2011. Willis Jr. was a contributor at linebacker on that squad and he developed into a star in the two seasons following the title. In fact, Willis Jr. was named the Ohio power’s most valuable player after his senior season as he finished with 75 tackles, 60 solo tackles, six interceptions and three forced fumbles. He didn’t only excel in football though. Willis Jr. lettered in both basketball and track and field and earned the school’s community service award. However, football was clearly his best sport and he was rated the number 54 prospect in Ohio and the number 61 outside linebacker nationally by Scout.com.
Willis Jr. chose to stay in the Midwest and became a Hoosier despite offers from Louisville and Cincinnati. He redshirted the 2014 season and excelled on the scout team, earning three different “scout team player of the week” honors (North Texas, Michigan State and Ohio State). The 6’1” redshirt freshman brings a good combination of size and speed to the outside linebacker position. Kevin Wilson has said that he hopes to play Willis Jr. on the edge, “(Willis is) a guy that’s kind of a big safety growing into a linebacker who we can hopefully play on the edge. (He’s a) quality player from a program.”
There is an opportunity for Willis Jr. to see quite a bit of playing time this season as outside linebacker is the one LB position that appears to be somewhat up for grabs. Clyde Newton is expected to be the starter but that’s not a guarantee and Willis Jr., after impressing in spring practices and during his redshirt season, will likely factor into the rotation on the outside.
The offseason can be a long and arduous time. We hope the Hoosier Huddle Countdown helps you get through these long months just a little bit easier. Keep coming back for excellent coverage and the season will be here before you know it!