What is FSU getting in Lloyd Willis? Derrick Gibson explains

Florida State has needs almost everywhere on the roster. But the biggest of the needs is on the offensive line.

The Seminoles have already landed Thomas Shrader and Zane Herring on the first day of the early signing period. But the window extends through Thursday and Friday for players to sign, and offensive tackle Lloyd Willis is expected to add to the list.

A Miami Killian standout, Willis grew up playing basketball before focusing on football the past two years. As with many basketball stars who turned to football, he is very athletic and has good footwork.

“Lloyd is probably one of the most athletic linemen that I’ve been around since I’ve been coaching in high school,” said Killian coach Derrick Gibson, who played at FSU from 1997-2000 and spent six years in the NFL. “He bends very well. He was a basketball guy who turned to football. The only thing Lloyd is missing is strength and confidence.

“Once Lloyd gets the confidence, Lloyd is going to be able to play on Sundays.”

That kind of endorsement, from a coach who once played on Sundays, is big. Gibson sees Willis as a lineman who is just beginning to take shape. Willis began playing at 335 but has dropped 30 pounds.

“He didn’t do that without working,” Gibson said. “He likes to run more than he likes to lift. You go around the whole country, you ask yourself, ‘How many big guys really like to run?’ He is going to do what he has to do to get better.”

That should start next month. Willis is set to enroll early at FSU, giving him the spring to get a jump on academics while hitting the weight room ahead of spring practice in March.

“Day 1 he should be right in the bunch,” Gibson said. “He is going to have a whole spring to get better. He’s a piece that we really need, especially up front.”

There is still plenty of work ahead for Willis but Gibson views Willis as someone who can continue to develop as he gains experience and is put on a regimented weight training program at FSU.

“I really believe he can be one of the best to ever come through Florida State once he gets that confidence and strength,” Gibson said. “He’s athletic like (former FSU offensive lineman) Tra Thomas. He’s just like Tra. He bends very well. Tra was as strong as an ox. Lloyd is going to have footwork. Once Lloyd gets stronger, the sky is going to be the limit.”

Lloyd Willis | OL | 6-7 | 310 | Miami, Fla. | Killian High School

Big, athletic offensive lineman with tremendous upside … Three-star prospect rated as No. 85 offensive tackle according to 247Sports Composite … Helped Killian to 9-3 record and appearance in 2019 FHSAA Class 5A state playoffs … Blocked for offense that produced 23.5 points per game and averaged 122.0 rushing yards per game … Team totaled 1,464 yards and 17 touchdowns on 232 carries … Chose Seminoles summer before his senior year after receiving interest from multiple schools, including Indiana and UCF.


  1. Patrick Burnham

    This kid, pound for pound, is athletic as anyone that has signed with FSU so far in the 2020 recruiting class. Has a ton of physical tools to work with. He is raw but if he works hard and has a passion for the game he could turn into a really good player.

  2. Bob Ferrante

    Mike Norvell on Willis’ signing: “We’re excited about Lloyd Willis. Obviously the focus on the offensive line position in this recruiting cycle is something that was critical. Lloyd is a young man that has incredible potential. He has unbelievable size. He’s 6-7 and more than 300 pounds but has incredible feet. His athleticism is really what shows up. He’s only played football for two years, so we think that his brightest days are here in front of him. He’s a great young man, not only what he does on the field but also off of it, and we’re glad to add him to the Seminole family.”

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