FSU, GT battling for four-star 2022 LB Jaron Willis

A plethora of prospects over the 2022, 2023, and 2024 classes made it to Tallahassee last weekend to attend Florida State’s first spring game since 2019. Priority target and 2022 linebacker Jaron Willis was one of the visitors in attendance and he had a lot of fun on Saturday.

“The vibes were kind of what I expected, very good vibes,” Willis said. “Being around other people in my class, chasing the same dreams, just having the opportunity to talk to some of them like Travis Hunter and Nicco Marchiol. Being around the campus, inside the stadium, it just showed me that there’s a lot of Florida State support. I had a lot of fun out there.”

Prior to the game, Willis was able to speak with five-star FSU commit Travis Hunter. Once things concluded, he got the chance to meet quarterback Nicco Marchiol for the first time in person and they had a conversation about his recruitment.

“It was just basically trying to introduce each other,” Willis said. “This was my first time seeing him [Marchiol] in person, I’ve heard about him a lot. Just having a conversation, seeing where my head is at with the recruitment right now and what this class can bring for Florida State. Talking to Travis, that’s like talking to a brother, man, that kid is funny. We always chop it up and have a great time when we talk.”

“It’s a blessing,” Willis continued. “You don’t normally have that opportunity to hang around with a bunch of big-time players like yourself. Just taking it all in man, remembering faces, remembering names, just introducing all of us to each other. Having that opportunity was a blessing.”

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During the spring game, Willis was watching the linebackers to see how they would perform. He sees himself in a similar mold to current Seminole Amari Gainer, someone that he’s spoken with in the past. Willis enjoyed seeing his former teammate, transfer defensive back Jammie Robinson, out on the field too.

“Me and Amari, we talk a lot about the linebacker corps,” Willis said. “Seeing him play, I can see myself being in his shoes, flying around the ball just like him on that Florida State defense. Having the opportunity to talk to him and see where his head is at with where Florida State is at. What he sees me doing there, what I see myself doing there, just thinking about playing there.”

“I think the defense is pretty solid,” Willis continued. “I actually got to see one of my former teammates, Jamme Robinson, out there playing. I know the linebackers were just hitting especially with coach Marve teaching those guys to be physical and fly to the ball. I thought the defense was very solid out there.”

The Georgia native also had his eyes on the coaching staff. He wasn’t surprised at all by the energy and intensity that they showed during the spring game.

“This is what I expect,” Willis said. “The energy they bring to the game, the energy they bring onto the field. You can tell, when we have our conversations it’s basically the same energy. I can’t say I’m surprised at what they’re doing on the field. When we’re just having a regular conversation, always being fired up, always being fired up to talk about the program, and talking about me and what they see me doing at Florida State.”

Did this visit improve Florida State’s chances of landing him later this summer?

“Definitely,” Willis said. “I grew up watching Florida State. When Rashad Greene and Jameis Winston were there, they were setting the foundation for Florida State winning the national championship, even before them. Seeing the 2013 class and what they brought to the table, they had different coaches but it’s the same logo and the same family. Watching them play, it inspired me to think that I could be like them and go get one myself.”

Right now, two of the top teams in Willis’ recruitment are Florida State and Georgia Tech. He plans to officially visit both schools this summer and has a trip to Arkansas set up as well. The Seminoles want him at linebacker while the Yellow Jackets see him as a safety at the next level. Willis is weighing his options and trying to decide which position will fit him the best.

“You’ve heard the rumors,” Willis said. “The rumors that are going around is that it’s out of Florida State and Georgia Tech. I can say that’s somewhat true because it’s hard between them, it’s a great battle between Florida State and Georgia Tech. They’re both coming at me hard, in different ways, recruiting me for different positions. For me, the million-dollar question is, do I want to play linebacker on the next level or safety? Having that opportunity is just a blessing.”

“Honestly, I can say this,” Willis continued. “I don’t know which one could fit me the best. I could be one of the athletic linebackers and a bigger safety. God blessed me with this body and with this skill set. He just allowed me to make my decision of what I want to do and I’m gonna give it back to him so he can help me out with that. I don’t know what I want to play at the next level, it really doesn’t matter, I just want to get on the field.”

Following his official visits, the Lee County High School product hopes to make a commitment before the beginning of his senior season.

“I’m thinking about doing it during the summer or before my senior year, which would be early August,” Willis said. “If something happens and I don’t make a decision by then, it’s going to be on signing day.”

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound linebacker is currently ranked as the No. 146 overall prospect, the No. 12 OLB, and the No. 18 player in the state of Georgia in the 2022 class according to 247Sports.

Keep up with NoleGameday for the latest on Willis and his upcoming official visits.

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