Patrick Willis among 15 finalists for pro football Hall of Fame

Patrick Willis

By russellBUSH

 Every little boy’s dream one day of playing professional football and the few that are lucky enough to make it rarely end up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. On February 9, Patrick Willis will find out if the culmination of his football career will place him in Canton, Ohio. On January 4, Willis was named as one of the 15 finalists that the HOF committee will chose from for the Hall of Fame.

 Born in Bruceton, Willis grew up in poverty and worked the cotton fields as a ten-year old and at the age of 17, Patrick and his brothers, Orey and Detris along with their sister Ernicka moved in with Patrick’s high school basketball coach Chris Finley.

 During his high school career at Hollow Rock – Bruceton Central, Willis lettered four times in football and basketball and three times in baseball. In football Patrick was named All-State twice and was the first football player to be nominated for Mr. Football as a lineman and as a back in the same year.

 Patrick’s football career continued at the University of Mississippi and during his career at Ole Miss from 2003-2006 he was named as first team All-SEC in 2005 and 2006 and as an All-American in the same years. Willis was named the SEC defensive player of the year in 2006 and received the Butkus Award and the Jack Lambert Award for the outstanding linebacker in the nation.

 Willis was selected in the first round of the 2007 NFL draft (11th pick) by the San Francisco 49’ers. Willis played with the 49’ers from 2007 until 2014 when he retired from professional football. During his NFL career, Willis recorded 950 tackles, 20.5 sacks, and had eight interceptions and forced 16 fumbles.

 Willis is also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Carroll County Sports Hall of Fame.

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