In his last two years at Pahokee (Fla.) High School, Nate Willis focused on basketball only and didn't step on the gridiron. But these days the 2013 cornerback prospects owns his share of football offers and is entering his second season at Arizona Western Community College.
The 6-foot and 180-pound Willis did play one season of high school football and that was as a receiver for Glades Central (Fla.) High School. In his return to the gridiron last year, Willis had 31 tackles, three interceptions and one forced fumble as a freshman at Arizona Western.
"It has been pretty good and I knew I always had it in me," said Willis. "But I had to get my grades right in junior college and now I have that part down and I am graduating in December. Getting offers now is a big step for me and I knew I had to prove it to other people.
"It wasn't that tough of an adjustment returning to football last year, really. But playing corner was probably the biggest transition since I only played receiver in high school. But I had some friends that played college ball that helped me with the position and so did my coaches."
Willis noted he has offers from Mississippi State, Kansas State, Kansas, Iowa State, South Florida, Indiana and Memphis among others. He also plans to see a few of those schools and is favoring a trio of MSU, South Florida and Iowa State.
"I am unofficially visiting South Florida this Thursday," said Willis. "And I am definitely going to officially visit Mississippi State. I will probably go see Iowa State, too, but right now the only two trips I am certain of are those to South Florida and Mississippi State."
Of that group, Willis said he was "leaning" towards on of those schools.
"I am actually leaning towards Mississippi State," Willis said. "I just love the SEC and it doesn't get any better than that. You have big games every week and just a step away from the NFL and the SEC prepares you so much for the NFL. That would be a big step for me if I went there.
"I also talk with Coach (Melvin) Smith a lot and we have a good relationship. Plus, it would be a good opportunity for me there since they have three senior cornerbacks this year. Everyone else would be new like me and they may know the plays better at first but I would have an edge with experience."
Willis added what he likes about his other two favorites, as well.
"Iowa State is a pretty good school with good facilities and a good coaching staff," said Willis. "They have a good brotherhood on their team and it is an all-around good school. It is the same with South Florida with a family-like atmosphere on the team. Plus, it is just a two-hour drive from back home."
With the 2012 campaign right around the corner, Willis said he could possibly make his college decision before the season gets underway. But like all prospects, he won't know for sure until he officially signs in December.
"I may commit before the season," said Willis. "But I probably won't know for sure until I get done with our season. For me, location is not a factor but finding the best opportunity is a big factor."