Blog Entry

Report: UCLA DT returning to North Carolina

Posted on: March 8, 2011 9:29 am
Posted by Chip Patterson

Highly touted defensive tackle Brandon Willis has made more headlines than most of the Class of 2010, and he has yet to play a snap. Multiple media outlets, including the Los Angeles Daily News and, are reporting that the Tar Heel transfer has been given his release from UCLA, and will be returning to North Carolina.

“My grandmother (is very ill),” Willis told Inside Carolina on Monday. “So everybody is trying to get as close as possible to be near her. “I wouldn’t go to any other school except for UNC, because I have a good relationship with Coach Butch Davis.”

Willis originally was a verbal commitment to Tennessee with plans to enroll in January 2010. But when Lane Kiffin bolted for Southern California, Davis and Co. convinced Willis his place would be at UNC. However, his father's unemployment situation forced a move to California - and prompted the hasty transfer to UCLA.

Now, with his grandmother in poor health, the entire family plans to relocate back to the Carolinas. When his father's employment forced the move to UCLA, Willis left North Carolina on good terms with Butch Davis. Now, that relationship will pay off in another talented body on the defensive line.

Willis is applying for an NCAA waiver to allow him to play right away, due to the circumstantial situation. Whether the waiver is granted or not, Willis plans to enroll back into UNC for the first summer session in May.

Since: Oct 18, 2006
Posted on: March 10, 2011 5:25 am

Report: UCLA DT returning to North Carolina

The requirement placed by the NCAA on transfers is to complete one full year of education (in residency) at the school to which the student-athlete transfers.

Since he is returning to his orignal school, he would be required to complete another full year of education at UNC.

It is possible that he might get a waiver due to his family situation.

If he DID NOT participate in practices at UCLA, then he could get a waiver based on that fact alone.

He does have to be aware of the five-year clock, which started when he first enrolled at UNC.  He has five years in which to compete in up to four seasons of football.  This clock does not stop due to transfers.

If the NCAA does not grant a waiver to allow him to play this year, then he will (most likely) lose a year of eligibility due to his double-transfer.

Of course, dealing with the NCAA is often clear as mud, so we'll have to play the waiting game to see how that works for him.

As to your add-on question, the five year rule allows for four years of competition, so the kid that transfers from Michigan after one year will sit out one year, and then he can play three years for Fresno State.

Most consider the "residency period" as a redshirt year.  Of course, if the redshirt year has been used, then a year of eligibility is lost in the process.  A waiver can sometimes be granted for medical purposes, if a player missed more than half of the season due to an injury.  This is on a case-by-case basis.

I hope this helps.

Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: March 10, 2011 2:12 am

Report: UCLA DT returning to North Carolina

I think that the PAC 16 will be much stronger than the PAC 12 will ever dream to be. The kid should get a wavier if only because he has to play football at UNC....just kidding. He left UNC to play for UCLA and had to sit out a season. He leaves again to go back home and has to sit out a season. Does anyone know if the year an athlete has to sit out counts as a year of eligibility? For example, a typicall 4 year starter leaves Michigan after his freshman season to play for Fresno State and has to sit out his sophomore season. Will the player still have 3 more years of eligibility or will he only have 2 because the year he sat out "counts"?

Since: Nov 19, 2006
Posted on: March 9, 2011 9:47 am

Report: UCLA DT returning to North Carolina

Another loss for UCLA, a program is is slowly but surely disintegrating in the Pac 12.  UCLA  already had one of the worst recruiting classes in the Pac 12, and this defection now sends their recruiting class to the very bottom of the conference, a place where their team is linkly to end up this season.   Neuheisel has been a total disaster for this team ever since he arrived.  So far, a 6 win regular season has been sandwiched in between two 4 win seasons.  It is getting ugly at UCLA.  Their record against cross town rival USC is 1-10 this century.  And Neuheisel was gong to challenge USC for bragging rights in Los Angeles.  Bet me.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or