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Scouting the Recruit: Nate Willis

The recruitment of JUCO CB Nate Willis will be prioritized by the Kentucky Football staff after having to dismiss two defensive backs on the current roster. If he selects Kentucky, Willis will be asked to come in and immediately compete for a starting cornerback position in Mark Stoops’ newly implemented 4-3 defense. Kentucky finished 54th in the nation in pass defense in 2012, which is pretty good with how bad the team looked at certain points. I think the 4-3 scheme is a lot simpler for defensive backs, meaning that, regardless, Kentucky’s secondary should put an overall better product on the field. If Willis commits to Kentucky, it’ll be hard not to pencil him in as one of the starting corners for next season from the beginning because he’s so talented. With so many young corners (JD Harmon, Fred Tiller, Cody Quinn) returning with a ton of game experience, it will be a tough battle for the second cornerback position but outstanding for depth purposes. I took a close look a Willis’ 2012 tape and here’s what stood out to me:


Nate Willis, CB/FS

Height: 6’0

Weight” 180 lbs.

40 time: 4.4

Junior College: Arizona Western C.C. (2013)


An explosive kick returner. Willis is a combination of great vision and 4.4 speed that could be deemed as illegal. He is able to beat guys with his great lateral movement but also has blinding speed  at his disposal that allows him to outrun entire special team units.

Interchangeable positions. Willis’ ability to play both corner and free safety would have better serviced former defensive coordinator Rick Minter. Willis will play corner at UK but he doesn’t lose much ability when he switches positions. At safety, he’s able to play the deep-half of the field without much consequence, routinely baiting quarterbacks into bad decisions. At corner, he plays close to the line of scrimmage and uses his length and physicality to disrupt the timing of the opposing wide receivers’ routes. He is rarely outran because of his elite speed.

A vicious hitter. Willis is one of the more physical defensive backs I’ve seen in a while. Whenever he has a chance to tackle an opposing player, it is a devastating hit almost every time. He plays the run game extremely well for a guy his size and isn’t afraid to slow down an oncoming running back. On tape, he looks ready for the physical nature of the SEC.


Article written by Rashawn Franklin

15 Comments for Scouting the Recruit: Nate Willis

  1. 2013
    8:08 pm January 9, 2013 Permalink

    People should look at the new basketball rankings. They have Wiggins favoring Kentucky and Marcus Lee moving up from 23rd to 9th. Good signs.

  2. BoomKentucky
    8:11 pm January 9, 2013 Permalink

    Round 2 of NCAA football cover is up. We are getting killed right now. 1000 uk votes to over 6000 bama votes.

  3. Hey Drew or Mrs.TT
    8:38 pm January 9, 2013 Permalink

    The Sh!t hit the fan with the Sacramento/Seattle deal. Commissioner Stern killed the deal! Louisville still in it!!

  4. Dano
    8:53 pm January 9, 2013 Permalink

    We were 54th against the pass because no one really needed to throw it. Our 0-0-11 defense was pathetic.

  5. Chris
    9:08 pm January 9, 2013 Permalink

    He looks like Marlo from The Wire.

  6. RIght!
    9:36 pm January 9, 2013 Permalink

    Chris! Spot on!!!!!

  7. Doo Doo Brown
    9:46 pm January 9, 2013 Permalink

    Voting for the NCAA Football cover doesn’t matter, theyre gonna take who they want to take regardless of votes. We wouldn’t make the cover even with the most votes.

  8. Big BLue Neck
    10:00 pm January 9, 2013 Permalink

    This boy is good, plus he seems respectful and well mannered. Go Coach Stoops!

  9. Optimist
    10:07 pm January 9, 2013 Permalink

    #7, true, but we can make some noise to at least get recognized. In EA’s post about round 1, Kentucky was called out for the fan support that helped push them through to Round 2. Also, of the 32 teams that advanced we were ranked 15th, so we should at least be able to make the next round. We have no business even being in the last 16, but let’s shick the world.

  10. Drew
    10:39 pm January 9, 2013 Permalink

    I love UK sports with a passion that is borderline crazy but why are we so concerned with a cover of a video game??? Especially a football game?? I would understand if it was BBALL but its not!!!! We don’t deserve even being mentioned!!! So quit talking about it. This thread is about a young DB who may commit to UK!! Talk about that instead of some stupid game cover that we have no business being on!!!! Yeah and u can call me negative and a hater all u want but it’s the truth and the truth hurts sometimes!!!!

  11. gocatsgo
    10:49 pm January 9, 2013 Permalink

    The truth is that it would be a great for recruiting and for the program.

  12. Drew
    12:16 am January 10, 2013 Permalink

    11. Really recruiting??? Winning football games will help recruiting not video games. U obviously don’t get the point i was trying to make!!!

  13. Coopdro1000
    12:53 am January 10, 2013 Permalink

    I work with high school football players… All they do is 1)play football
    2) Eat 3) play video games(wouldnt it be nice for them to look down on the floor and see the EA with UK in all its glory). Oh yea… They play on twitter and do other stuff, but it would matter.

  14. Rumplestilskin
    7:49 am January 10, 2013 Permalink

    Wake me up when Stoops finnaly signs ONE 4 star.

  15. Joe
    10:39 am January 10, 2013 Permalink

    Hey RumpleDICKskin, he already has!!!