2024 RB Yasim Willis (6-0 202) of Montvale, NJ came south last summer to compete in one of the USC camps in front of head coach Shane Beamer and running backs coach Montario Hardesty. That was a few weeks after he had been given an offer by area recruiter Pete Lembo.
Willis returned to Columbia last Saturday for the Tennessee game where he had the chance to talk more in detail with Beamer and Hardesty. Willis felt good enough about the visit and the coaches that he was ready to declare the Gamecocks his current favorite.
“I love it. It’s somewhere that I definitely feel like I can fit in,” Willis said. “I think it fits me perfectly. I’ve been there before for a camp and I visited around the school and I fell in love with the school. Ever since then I just feel like South Carolina may be the place for me. As time goes on, we will see. But yes, they are my favorite, 100%.”
One of the highlights of the visit for Willis was the chance to sit down with Beamer for a one-on-one conversation.
“I had a great conversation with him,” Willis said. He was telling me how he watched my film and believed how I had gotten better since last season. I actually excelled this season, so he was proud to see that. He was saying that the type of running back that I am is someone that they are definitely looking for and I definitely fit the criteria and the play calling for that type of offense.”
And what did Beamer and Hardesty say that they liked about Willis?
They said I’m very downhill,” Willis said. “I’ve got a couple of moves in my inventory, so I know how to use that when needed. I can jump, run over, get around you, stiff arm, I’m on a different when I’m running the ball and that’s something that they like.”
It helped the Gamecocks with Willis to put on an offensive show against Tennessee scoring 63 points and rolling up over 600 total yards, including 153 yards on the ground.
“The offense they were running, they did a great job with it,” Willis said. “They played grown man football. They came and did what they are supposed to do. I remember I was talking to Coach Hardesty, he was like, if we get the ball first, then game over. We go out, execute the way we’re supposed to, game over, we can win it. They scored on the first drive and kept it going after that. I believe they scored on every drive except for one. That was amazing to see them go out there and put on that great show.”
Willis also has been to Rutgers for a game this season. He’s also taken visits to Penn State and Syracuse. He said the Nittany Lions are another program of strong interest to him at this point. Some of his other offers are Michigan, Illinois, Virginia Tech, Duke, Kentucky, Louisville, Nebraska and Connecticut.
This season Willis rushed for 1133 yards and 18 touchdowns.