Hard-hitting, instincts, and physicality – those are the three things you notice immediately when linebacker Aaron Willis steps on the field.
The Virginia prospect from Midlothian is one of the top up and coming players for the class of 2021, and he’s a name you should be come instantly familiar with. Standing at an impressive 6’0, 175-pounds, Willis also plays some fullback when his Central VA Hurricanes are on offense. But it’s the linebacker position where he really excels on the gridiron, and it also happens to be the position that has been his favorite since he was little.
“Ever since I played my first tackle football game when I was seven, I loved going in for the hit and making the tackle,” Willis said. I love hearing the crowd cheering and being the leader for the defense.”
When you throw on the tape of Willis, it’s easy to see why he’s such a rising prospect in the Virginia area. He diagnoses the play with incredible quickness, and his first step is extremely advanced for his age.
Another major key for the young linebacker is his tackling technique. Willis has found a way at a young age to use proper tackling technique while still delivering the boom to offensive players.
“I feel my strengths are that I have very good instincts of where the ball is at all times,” Willis said. “I like to think that I understand the game of football really well.”
Playing for the Hurricanes, Willis had an outstanding 2015 football season for his 7th grade year. He was the leader – and the most productive – member of the Hurricane defense, recording 128 tackles, 11 sacks, forcing six fumbles, and also snagging two interceptions.
Matching up his outstanding performances with the other quality players from his team, the Hurricanes were able to make a run through the AYF ranks all the way to the AYF National Championship game, and experience Willis was thankful to receive.
“The experience was great, it was something I had never experienced before at that level,” Willis said. “I took away that there are great football players in this country that are playing for the same thing. That means I have to work harder and get down to business so I can be the best and get my name out there.”
His performance through the 2015 season also earned him some postseason acknowledgments as well. He was invited to play in both the Hotbed Middle School All-Star game and the Dream Bowl Junior Classic.
“Dream Bowl was fun. I met great players form other parts of Virginia,” Willis said. “I think I played great. I made a lot of tackles and some great blocks for our amazing running back. There was a lot of smack talk, but it all ended when they couldn’t run that ball because me and my teammates started shutting them down.”
Willis is on the verge of becoming a household name in the Virginia football scene, and rightfully so. He’s played up in age most of his career, and has been effective wherever he lines up. Camp season and this offseason will be big for Willis, and he’s taking the whole thing in stride, working to improve on his game.
“This offseason I’m working on my strength and getting bigger so I can perfect my techniques,” Willis said. “As far as 8th grade, I’m looking forward to which high school I’m going to attend. There are a lot of great high schools in the Richmond area, so I’m looking forward to fitting in with the rest of the talent.”
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