Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings. This entry covers the ripples in college football which created the trail for Devin Willock to sign with a true dream school: The Georgia Bulldogs.
The Devin Willock to Georgia story starts with a picture. It is a visual of a surgical scooter, Matt Luke and a nearly 6-foot-7 and 345-pound future bulldozer for his O-line.
Words will not do it justice.
Check out the picture below. The visual validates Willock (sounds like WIL-LOCK) as the biggest (and likely first) official visitor to Georgia who was in need of a surgical scooter.
Devin Willock. Matt Luke. A surgical scooter. That official visit. There’s certainly a story there. (Devin Willock/Contributed photo)
He took his official visit on that scooter. He had to because of a delicate surgery to repair a season-ending injury. It cannot be confirmed if the UGA staff played “Roll Out” by Ludarcis during his photo shoot.
“So I rolled around campus,” Willock said.
Willock actually broke the first scooter he had. It buckled. Of course it did. Some called it a “knee wheeler” instead of a scooter.
“When the coaches at Georgia saw me rolling around on my visit, they said it was definitely different than anything they had experienced on a visit before,” he said. “They were still in good spirits about it and said they were just glad that I made the trip and everything.”
The 3-star prospect signed with Georgia in simpler times during the early period. He rated for the 2020 class as the nation’s No. 70 offensive tackle and the No. 906 overall prospect on the 247Sports Composite ratings.
There is some flexibility as to where he might eventually line up.
“I committed to be a ‘Dawg,” Willock said back in December. “Whether it is a guard or a tackle. Coach [Matt] Luke is a great guy. A real genuine guy that I know is going to coach me up well. He has great past success with his players and I’m just going to be another star in the making.”
Where’s the place to start here?
- He’s strong now. Willock went from scooter to walking boot to crutches to now full weight support drills. This all came about after two injuries which should have ended his senior season. He tried to play through it, though. The second malady came in the final minutes of his last game. Yet with that, he now feels it all happened for the best possible reason.
- What about the Sam Pittman move? If Pittman doesn’t bolt for Arkansas, then he’s not a Georgia Bulldog signee in the 2020 class. It is just that simple.
- It took more than that: It took Pittman leaving and longtime commit Joshua Braun deciding he didn’t want to get to know Luke in record time. When Braun de-committed from UGA to stay close to home at Florida, it opened up a spot for Willock.
- Willock loved UGA back during the summer. He had an offer, but it was not committable. What would’ve happened if he could commit back in June of 2019? “Well, then I’m pretty sure that you and I are having this conversation about me going to Georgia in June or July,” Willock said in December. “And not right now right before the early signing period.”
- A beloved uncle actually lives in Gainesville. For those that wonder about other links to UGA from North Jersey, there was one here. It was the same uncle who helped him shape his varsity football career. It was the move to powerful Paramus Catholic. Georgia had been his “dream school” option for the last two years of high school. At least.
- How is Georgia closer to New Jersey than Pennsylvania? That also played a part in his unique recruiting story.
Those are all worthy green lights which would keep this rolling along, but it makes a little more sense to learn where Willock comes from. Those elements led the one-time Penn State commit to Georgia.
Devin Willock de-committed from Penn State, took an official to UGA, committed and then signed during a whirlwind 10 days before the early signing period. (Devin Willock/Courtesy photo)
Devin Willock: Forged at Paramus Catholic
The short-term memory roll call of Paramus Catholic alumni is stout: There’s a pair of NFL first-round picks in former Michigan Wolverines Rashan Gary and Jabrill Peppers.
The feeling up there is the South has an edge because they don’t hold spring practices up there. There are also no junior colleges to develop those players which need just a bit more academically or athletically coming out of high school.
There are very few high schools in America which have had two former players picked in the first round in the NFL draft over the last five years. Paramus can.
That’s where Willock comes from. The last few seasons might have been a struggle, but the Paladins are still sending players to the Boston Colleges and Michigans, among others.
“We’ve had good athletes here,” Paramus Catholic head coach John Whitehead said. “We’ve had good players. Very good players. We have kids in the NFL but Devin doesn’t take a back seat to any of those kids and we have kids starting right now in the NFL.”
Willock transferred to Paramus in the summer before his junior year. He was pudgy. Still carried some baby fat. Yet he was plugged in to play both ways at defensive tackle and on the offensive line for Paramus.
He’d been in the program for only a year, but he was named a captain for the 2019 team. That was rare, but it was deserved.
“Really good kid off the field,” Whitehead said. “Very soft spoken. Very well mannered. Comes from a really good family. Both parents are very great people. Very personable. Quiet. Hard working.”
Whitehead rolled off all the reasons why recruiters were interested in Willock. Aside from that massive frame and size 16 cleats. Paramus had a player who was almost as tall as Willock about 15 years ago. He went off to Florida State.
Willock has bigger everything: Calves. Feet. Frame. Hands. Legs. Shoulders. The Paladins run a lot. It meant that most of that baby fat melted away after his first year in the program.
Whitehead describes him as a tireless worker.
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