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Hurricanes star DT Gerald Willis will skip Pinstripe Bowl

Florida Football Insiders



Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Hurricanes already suffered one blow earlier in the week with defensive coordinator Manny Diaz leaving to take the head coaching job at Temple. Now, on Friday afternoon comes word that arguably the team’s best defensive player will not play in the upcoming Pinstripe Bowl on December 27th with Wisconsin.

Fifth-year senior and captain defensive tackle Gerald Willis broke the news himself on social media Friday that due to a hand injury, he’s going to skip the match up at Yankee Stadium:

Willis started all 12 games this season for the Hurricanes and was named to the All-ACC second team. He led the Atlantic Coast Conference with a tremendous 18 tackles for loss and that number is also the most for any tackle in the FBS this season.

Even though his position doesn’t usually lend to having big defensive stats, Willis had career highs and tackles with 59, sacks with four and a fumble recovery, as well.

His top performance was arguably in the Canes opening game loss to LSU in Arlington, TX. That night, Willis finished with eight tackles, four for loss, and a sack and basically announced to the NFL that he would be a prospect to watch all season.

Cut out of the same mold as former canes star defensive tackles like Jerome Brown, Russell Maryland Warren Sapp, the 6-2 280 lb. Willis has got a lot of NFL scouts and personnel people drooling. Numerous draft publications and sites project Willis as a first-round pick and some believe that he could go even as high as the top 15 of April’s draft.

The former New Orleans High School product started his career at Florida, but transferred after coach Jim McElwain took over. He played two seasons in Miami, seeing limited action in 2016, where he made 19 tackles in nine games.

After taking 2017 off for personal reasons, Willis obviously came out strong and had the most tackles for loss in a single Miami season since Calais Campbell had 20.5 of them in 2006.

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