Airyn Willis confirms he’ll sign with Wake Forest, not Tech (UPDATED)

Airyn Willis said his plan for Tuesday was to leave his cell phone off the entire day and not turn it on until he made his signing day announcement on Wednesday. But it didn’t work out that way.

Instead he found himself on the phone all evening trying to explain why he was not going to sign with Georgia Tech, to which he has been committed since last April, and sign instead with Wake Forest, a school at which he never took an official visit.

“It’s been very stressful,” said Willis, reached at his High Point, N.C., home late Tuesday evening. “It’s not a rumor. I’m going to sign with Wake Forest tomorrow.”

Asked to explain his decision, Willis said it basically business.

“First of all, people need to understand I have no problem with anybody at Georgia Tech,” he said. “I have a great relationship with all their coaches and they’re all great people. What it came down to is what benefited me was to go to Wake Forest to be a slot receiver.

“Me and my parents, we discussed it at length. And sometimes you just have to give it up to God. That’s what we ended up doing. I prayed about it a lot and this was the best decision for me.”

News of Willis’ flip first leaked out in a recruiting blog on the website of the Greensboro News & Record, which quoted Southwest Guilford High coach Scott Schwarzer saying Willis had changed his mind to Wake Forest. Reached by the AJC, Schwarzer denied making those comments

Willis, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound quarterback at Southwest Guilford, has been committed to the Yellow Jackets since last April. He said he had originally been told he would have the opportunity to play quarterback at Tech but might also would get a look at receiver and some other positions.

Later, the Jackets landed quarterback Vad Lee of Durham, N.C. Lee, North Carolina’s Class 4A player of the year. That seemed to assure Willis’ fate as a receiver.

Willis said he didn’t mind playing receiver at Tech but felt he could be more productive at the position in a more balanced offense such as the one at Wake Forest.

“We a really close relationship with Coach [Andy] McCollum and we hated to disappoint him,” Willis said. “But like my Dad told him, people have to understand we have to do what’s in my best interest. Somebody has to be disappointed and unfortunately it’s Georgia Tech.”

With his decision, Willis becomes the fifth Georgia Tech commitment in the last three weeks to change his mind. DE Darrius Caldwell (Illinois), DE Stephon Tuitt (Notre Dame), DE Trey Flowers (Arkansas) and DT Tre Jackson (undetermined) will all sign elsewhere when the national signing period for college football opens Wednesday morning.

Willis rushed for 1,004 yards and 10 touchdowns on 140 carries for the Cowboys (6-6) this season. He completed 19 of 60 passes for 339 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions, and also caught a 29-yard touchdown pass.

In related news, Jackson was offered a scholarship by Georgia on Tuesday, according to UGASports.com. Jackson, a Tech commitment since October, had his scholarship offer from rescinded by coach Paul Johnson because he visited Florida State last weekend. Ironically, it appears that the Seminoles won’t be signing him.

By Chip Towers, The College Recruiting Blog

218 comments Add your comment

juvenal

February 1st, 2011
2:41 pm

Hooch

February 1st, 2011
2:46 pm

He wants to play QB with those numbers?

Davey Boy Smith

February 1st, 2011
2:47 pm

The kid obviously knows Vad Lee, because they are in the same state, and realizes he will never play QB as long as Lee is there. Don’t think Coach Johnson will be too worried either way.

82Dawg

February 1st, 2011
2:49 pm

Sounds like a perfect QB for Tech with those stats…

Enemas for Arbor Day

February 1st, 2011
2:51 pm

He’s ascared to go to college in downtown Atlanta with all the crime.

RxDawg

February 1st, 2011
2:51 pm

“He wants to play QB with those numbers?”

That’s what I was thinking O.o

RomeDawg

February 1st, 2011
2:52 pm

Who can blame him. This is shaping up to be the worst class for Tech in years. When you can’t recruit well coming off a horrible season, you are in trouble. Lucky for CPJ, Tech will accept mediocraty as long as he keeps talking big.

Zeke Bradcowsky

February 1st, 2011
2:53 pm

To 82Dawg: You must remember Buck Belue only completed 1 pass
against Notre Dame in your 1980 moment of glory.. I have to
admit you had Herschel.

You've Been DaRicked !

February 1st, 2011
2:54 pm

Wait till tomorrow. real surprises are gonna happen around dawg nation.

Spike

February 1st, 2011
2:58 pm

19 of 60 passes for 339 yards, three TDs and four pics. Wow.

Vikings87

February 1st, 2011
2:58 pm

Is Wake planning to play him at QB?

GTBob

February 1st, 2011
3:00 pm

If true then bye Airyn. Good luck at Wake. Hopefully you get to play QB there like you want. We will see you on the field.

GStateBen

February 1st, 2011
3:02 pm

He’s not going to play QB there either. He will be a WR at the college level.

CPJ is a hypocrite (the real one)

February 1st, 2011
3:02 pm

Has the thought of signing with Wake Forest or any other school crossed his mind since swearing a blood oath to CPJ? If so, revoke his offer at once.

DILLIGAF

February 1st, 2011
3:04 pm

There is no way a 180 lb. QB would make it through one game running that offense.

GTBob

February 1st, 2011
3:07 pm

Who can blame him. This is shaping up to be the worst class for Tech in years.

Actually, it’s really not. Plus if he was worried about the recruiting class then why switch to a school with an even worse recruiting class?

Dawg Man

February 1st, 2011
3:09 pm

That much is true DILLIGAF

rduck

February 1st, 2011
3:10 pm

If he truly wants to play

HOOCH

February 1st, 2011
3:12 pm

over under on how many big name recruits flip flop tomorrow so they will make sportscenter ? I say at least 3

nah

February 1st, 2011
3:14 pm

Romedawg….you must not follow Tech recruiting very often. This is actually above average….Gaileys classes were not better with the lone exception of 2007. Keep thinking those stars really mean that much….Rivals and Scout taylor the ratings to school but im sure you have heard that before. In one ear and right out the other….

nah

February 1st, 2011
3:16 pm

And I dont know why my phone auto corrected taylor…it should be tailor.

rduck

February 1st, 2011
3:17 pm

If he truly wants to play QB at the next level (which I hardly doubt would happen with those #’s) then he probably should look elsewhere. GT is stocked with QB’s with Washington returning with experience, Days pushing for the top spot, Sims just moved to Bback but also could be used with some game experience, and the signing (hopefully) of Vad Lee who may push all of these guys. We can always use talented athletes such as Willis on the field, but I can’t see him under center…

Pacific Dawg

February 1st, 2011
3:17 pm

Looks all the rats are jumpimg ship.

observer

February 1st, 2011
3:19 pm

It’s looking more and more that the high water mark for CPJ will be his first two years. It’s becoming clearer as time goes on that he simply isn’t that good of a recruiter. That’s something that won’t really affect you that much at Southern or Navy, but in the ACC, when you are going against FSU, VT, Clemson and Miami you have to bring in above average talent to consistently compete.

Say what you will about Chan Gailey’s coaching results, but the guy could flat out recruit and brought in very good talent to GT. The same talent that CPJ used to success the first two years, but the Chan talent train is about to run out, and the results are going down for CPJ and won’t get much better unless he can bring in talent.

1eyedJack

February 1st, 2011
3:24 pm

Who in his right mind would want to be a blocker/receiver in Coach Fish Fry’s offense? At least at Wake he’ll get some balls thrown his way.

GTBob

February 1st, 2011
3:25 pm

@observer
Say what you will about Chan Gailey’s coaching results, but the guy could flat out recruit and brought in very good talent to GT.

No, he was actually a pretty bad recruiter. Have you bothered to actually lookup the rankings of his classes or are you just making stuff up and hoping you are right?

nah

February 1st, 2011
3:26 pm

observer….this is Techs 2nd best class since 2000….shut up with that nonsense. This class is better than all of Gailey’s classes with the lone exception of 2007. If you have an opinion at least back it up with some basis of fact. Until you do its just another opinion….Chan Gailey would routinely sign small classes with many two star players…go back and look at the rankings. You guys make me chuckle sometimes with your warping of the truth to support your flawed arguments. Doesn’t UGA graduate some good lawyers? I would hate to have one representing me in court if their fanbase is any indication of the logic process that is being taught at that school.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Josh Mosley and P Brooks, Chip Towers. Chip Towers said: Georgia Tech may or may not have lost another commitment http://bit.ly/gWlwEa [...]

Greg

February 1st, 2011
3:29 pm

19 completions for the season and he still thinks he should be able to play qb at Tech. Makes sense to me. As for the UGa/Belue comparison, unfortunately for Paul Johnson, a hot tub time machine isn’t available to take him back to the 80’s.

George Stein

February 1st, 2011
3:32 pm

What’s mediocraty, RomeDawg?

RAID

February 1st, 2011
3:32 pm

Wow, with stats like that he should fit right in at Tech!

GT is a 4th rate high school team

February 1st, 2011
3:33 pm

Willis just fits right with GT considering his HS Team’s record (6-6).

Aint No Way

February 1st, 2011
3:33 pm

There is no way Airyn will play QB and especially will not play over Vad Lee. He’ll stick around and be a star receiver catching 50 yard passes from his new friend Vad Lee!

Gtfan11

February 1st, 2011
3:33 pm

With those stats I’m surprised anybody wants him at QB. Though Nesbitt’s #’s probably aren’t much better in the passing category. In my opinion, Tech will have to be able to pass with some reasonable degree (over 50%) to get back to compete for the ACC title. The kid sounds more like an A back.

Nerds

February 1st, 2011
3:36 pm

Takashi, Booger, Lamar Latrell, Lewis, Gilbert, Booger, and Wormser are all still available to fill Coach Fish Fry’s roster.

ATL Nole

February 1st, 2011
3:37 pm

It’s okay Techies, FSU is going to crush you either way.

Pacific Dawg

February 1st, 2011
3:37 pm

George Stein

Mediocraty is that tight end from Oconee County. I think he signs with Tennessee.

nah

February 1st, 2011
3:40 pm

@”GT is a 4th rate high school team”….didnt your team just go 6-7 with loss to UCF! And this after how many top 10 recruiting classes in a row? haha

Pacific Dawg

February 1st, 2011
3:40 pm

Nerds

Sounds like Coach Fish Fry’s answer to the Dream Team. Could happen.

Genius Jacket

February 1st, 2011
3:45 pm

What is happening to our recruiting class?

Nerds

February 1st, 2011
3:47 pm

That’s what I call people smarter than me.
You’re all NERDS, I like taking remedial classes and ridin’ the short bus.

John

February 1st, 2011
3:47 pm

Rome Dawg, your an idiot. Even without Willis, our class will be on par with the past two years, which were better than every class we have has in the past 10 years except 2007. CPJ is a much better recruiter overall than Chan Gailey.

Genius Jacket

February 1st, 2011
3:47 pm

Why am I so ashamed to admit I’m a UGA fan? Why do I spend time on blogs pretending to be a Tech fan? why won’t girls date me? Why did Aunt Linda kiss me like that?

Bishop

February 1st, 2011
3:49 pm

Y’all should know not to listen to scout.

John

February 1st, 2011
3:49 pm

ATL nole – “It’s okay Techies, FSU is going to crush you either way”

Just like you guys did the last two times you played us….oh wait. (I kinda understand why UGA fans rub the 9 out of 10) thing now. It is kinda fun.

Captain

February 1st, 2011
3:51 pm

Refreshing to read you GT supporters attempting to cover up your huge disappointment on Signing Day Eve. What you boys should be wondering is why Fish Fry can’t sign but perhaps 6 of the 150 or so who will sign D-1 scholarships from this state. Pitiful class anyway you look at it. PLEASE, spare me the “Academics” BS, it’s just that, a Barbara Streisand moment, lots of idle meaningless talk. GT uses the same academic standards for admission as everyone else, those set forth by the NCAA. Truth is, you made efforts with virtually all of the top prospects in the state this year, they simply were not interested, had nothing to do with academics. Kentucky has a much better crop of Georgia prospects than GT, Vandy is getting close and S Car lapped you months ago. This has to be embarrassing, it has to be humiliating. One year after winning an ACC Championship you are outrecruiting Georgia Southern, Eastern Illinois, W Kentucky, Furman, Akron, Ohio U for prospects. It’s been a free fall from the ACC heights to the recruiting depths hasn’t it? What happened along the way to Fish Fry’s promise of becoming a factor and having a presence in recruiting in the state of Georgia? He really was full of himself after that one win against the Dawgs and Willie Martinez’ defense.

Get the hush puppy batter ready, mix the cole slaw, the fish are beginning to fry, how sweet it is.

Pacific Dawg

February 1st, 2011
3:52 pm

Genius Jacket

Why don’t any of the cool kids want yo play dungeons and dragons with you.

hot carl spackler

February 1st, 2011
3:53 pm

Looks like the kid decided to get a better education. Can’t fault him for that.

JUCO coach

February 1st, 2011
3:53 pm

GT doesn’t take our guys, but UGA will.

Bitter vince dooly in south beach

February 1st, 2011
3:54 pm

BY THE LOOKS OF THOSE# he is lucky to be playing for wake, count your blessings TECH!!!young punks fickle, duh!!!!!milk and cookies