HOUSTON (WFXR) — It’s been a couple of years since we’ve heard Ryan Willis’ name. But the former Virginia Tech quarterback is set to take the field this weekend in The Spring League’s championship game known as the Mega Bowl.
It’s a path Willis did not envision when he left Blacksburg to pursue a career in the NFL.
“Let’s just say I did not see this coming,” Willis said. “I was surprised I was in The Spring League to start with.”
Over a year and a half removed from playing in Blacksburg, Willis is looking to prove he belongs in professional football by showcasing his talent in what’s been marketed as “the premier professional football development league” in the United States and abroad.
And if you’ve never heard of TSL, Willis didn’t either.
“I had to learn more about this league before I said yes, I didn’t immediately say yes. It took me like a day or two,” Willis said. “They tell us about a third of the league is going to be in a fall camp, so it’s NFL guys. You can’t really get into this league by accident. Everyone’s been playing for a long time. And there’s some dudes.”
Turns out Willis has been one of the better dudes out there during the season, leading the league in passing yards and leading his team, the Linemen, to this weekend’s Mega Bowl championship in Houston.
“This past year and a half, I’ve done nothing but completely work my tail off. In the gym every day, transformed my body,” Willis said. “I’m playing more confident than I’ve ever played. I’m ready to go. About time I start reaping the rewards for what I’m doing off the field.”
Willis’ career at Virginia Tech was a rollercoaster ride. He went from back-up to starter to benchwarmer. Looking back, the former Hokie says his past prepared him for this moment and for his possible future in the NFL.
“I miss Virginia Tech a lot. It was a great experience and I’m going to be forever thankful for my time in Blacksburg,” Willis said.
After his performance so far in The Spring League, the Kansas-native is confident he’ll have a shot to compete in a NFL training camp.
“It’s just a matter of where.”
For now, he’s grateful to be taking the field in front of a national television audience on Fox for a 3 p.m. kickoff on Saturday at Rice Stadium.
“I’m just taking it as a blessing. I get to play football. I get another game,” Willis said.
“It’s a ‘for sure’ game, I’m going to play this Saturday and I’m not going to take it for granted.”