Florida Gators part ways with DE Gerald Willis III

By Adam Silverstein
January 6, 2015

Coming off a rocky first season with the program, freshman defensive end Gerald Willis III has been dismissed by the Florida Gators, which announced Tuesday that he will transfer from the program.

Willis, who got into an embarrassing public altercation with a teammates in Oct. 6, was in Florida’s doghouse for most of the season, missing two games at the start of the 2014 campaign for undisclosed reasons.


In addition to the aforementioned incident with redshirt sophomore quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg, Willis was removed from the Florida State game on Nov. 29. While standing on the sideline, he hit FSU quarterback Jameis Winston late after Winston ran out of bounds; Willis received a personal foul penalty and was thrown off the sideline by the Gators coaching staff.

“If I was still head coach, he would be kicked off the team. That’s ridiculous,” then-head coach Will Muschamp said after the game.

Willis also made his share of impact plays during the eight games he played this season, recovering a fumble against Eastern Kentucky and forcing a fumble at the goal line against East Carolina in the 2015 Birmingham Bowl.

A consensus four-star prospect out of high school, Willis was ranked the 83rd overall player in the class of 2014 by Rivals, No. 42 overall by ESPN. His departure huts a Florida team in need of talent as it struggles to fill its 2015 recruiting class.

22 Comments

  1. GatorKen says:

    Sounds like a young man who needs direction that he wasn’t getting from Muschamp’s staff.

    • MAR says:

      Muschamp was good at good at directing college athletes in life. Our players grades improved and off the field incidents decreased with each year under Muschamp. The direction he could not provide was the way to victory.
      I’m convinced Willis has problems and would continue to embarrass this program. I think there is more to it than what has been reported.
      I felt the same way Muschamp did after seeing what Willis did to Winston. We don’t need him no matter how thin the line is. GW being kicked off the team shows class on UF’s (and/or the new HC’s) part.

      • Ken (CA) says:

        I totally agree with you there. I think he was an excellent role model (sideline tirades excepted) in general for the kids and tried to teach them to be better human beings than when they came in and helped them mature. Sounds like Gerald just isn’t ready to grow up yet, or is just a bad egg.

    • Oldflyer says:

      Oh get serious. You know we are having a severe drought in California; could it be Muschamp’s fault?

      I wonder if Al Sharpton, Mayor DiBlasio and Eric Holder know about Muschamp? Might as well hang everything on him. So convenient.

    • Dave Massey says:

      You’ve got to be kidding me, trying to hang this on Muschamp and his staff. Even God can’t cure stupid.

  2. ryan v says:

    On the bright side, you have a gap in the DE slot that the coaches could sell to CeCe Jefferson that he could come in and possibly be on the field right away.

    • Daniel M. says:

      We could use a like button for this comment. This story has sophomoric bickering and your comment.

      • Sammage says:

        Doesn’t sophomoric bickering with a tiny amount of useful discussion describe the entirety of the Internet?

  3. 305Gator says:

    Strange that he would be dismissed at this juncture. He played in the bowl game, the old staff didn’t get rid of him. Wonder what Big Mac saw that prompted him to get rid of him. Or was it Foley? More insight if you can.

    • Razzlegator says:

      For a guy that always has all of the answers, this is kind of a funny post. Maybe this will help. https://twitter.com/CoachMcElwain/status/552301798313435136

      • 305Gator says:

        So Razzle you think I’m a “know it all” type? That really hurts, I thought we were all buds. But seriously now, I am somewhat perplexed by this move. It seems so quick and sudden. I know a lot of guys here are calling Willis a hot head and a trouble maker and such but the only 2 incidents I am aware of have been the fight with Morningwheg and the Winston bump. The former was dismissed as meaningless by all the parties involved and all the coaches. The latter was a very stupid move, although I still say that Winston stuck his hand in his facemask as he was running into him. But whatever the case may be none of these two offenses seem to be worthy of termination. You seem to be putting this at the same level as rape or stealing. So unless there is something else we do not know about this is very strange indeed.
        Must confess that I do not have an answer for this one but hey no one is perfect. If you need answers for anything else, anything at all, don’t hesitate to ask me. I am here for you bud.

  4. Marc says:

    After what he pulled in the FSU game, I was surprised they let him suit up in the bowl game, let alone see significant time on the field. There’s got to be more to this story.

  5. W2 says:

    I really hate it for team but Willis is a hot head. I think Coach helped and cared about all those kids but Willis will be someones question mark where ever he goes. Go Gators.

  6. Michael J. says:

    I predicted here, I believe, months ago that Willis wouldn’t last. UF took a chance when they took him, he didn’t learn how to be a jerk in Gainesville. I’m sure he was given plenty of rope because of his physical talent, there’s probably a lot of things he did we’ll never know about. It was an omen of things to come when he was suspended for the first two games of his first year on campus. I don’t think he was even an early enrollee, so it didn’t take long for him to be recognized as a knucklehead.

  7. KB says:

    I wonder if Mac had his mind made up on Willis and this decision was imminent the moment the old staff was out the door. Very odd that he played his best game in the bowl game and then all of a sudden he is dismissed from the team. Did he do something else recently? If everyone had a clean slate with the new staff then I am curious as to what went down exactly to render his dismissal. If Mac had already predetermined that this kid was not long for the program then I am fine with it. I am just curious and would like some more questions asked and perhaps a few more details. I guess either we will never know or if he has success at another place then maybe it will be discussed in a puff piece.

    • Ken (CA) says:

      He stated that he would start evaluating kids and having one on one’s this week with them. He probably sat him down during that meeting today and told him there was no longer a place for him on his team too many chances blown. Excellent start for Coach Mac.

      • KB says:

        That’s perfectly fine if it went down that way as you said. I just want the question asked & answered so that it is clear as to what rendered his dismissal. I heard rumors of another fight allegedly and we really don’t know exactly but I would hope that if it was that way that Mac just clarifies it. In any decision I always want transparency so I hope that is something we can expect with the new coach and staff.

  8. Sam Andreu says:

    Dave Massey, GOD CAN CURE STUPID. Being fired may be the best thing that ever happens for Gerald Willis.

  9. Mike The Red says:

    Where did all the trolls come from?

    I confess that I found the timing curious as well. Personally, I thought that the FSU incident was blown out of proportion. He over-reacted to Winston shoving his face mask on the sideline. Great acting on Winston’s part. Questionable flag.

    However at the same time, I was surprised that the Mornhinweg incident was downplayed as much as it was. If he really did steal his teammates shoes, that was a pretty serious offense.

    I suspect that this player just raised too many red flags for coach Mac. A new coach is always looking to make an example out of someone. Willis was an easy candidate who wasn’t bright enough to keep his head down.

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