Minnesota Golden Gophers linebacker Donald Willis announced late Tuesday night that he is entering the transfer portal. He has two years of eligibility remaining.
Everything they’ve done for me. You guys have guided me to be a better version of my self each and everyday and taught me situational football. With that being said I’m entering my name into the transfer portal. pic.twitter.com/hxqgVUZS0g— Don (@donaldwillis399) March 1, 2023
In his fourth season with the program, Willis saw action in all 13 games and recorded 19 tackles. After Braelen Oliver transferred to Georgia Tech back in December, Willis was expected to step into the starting sam linebacker role next season, a position that typically alternates snaps with the slot cornerback when Minnesota switches out of their base 4-2-5 defense. Now defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Joe Rossi will likely look to either redshirt sophomore Devon Williams or redshirt freshman Joey Gerlach, neither of whom has seen meaningful game action.
Willis is the second Gopher defender to enter the transfer portal in the last week, with cornerback Beanie Bishop announcing on Feb. 23 that he would be seeking to use his final year of eligibility elsewhere. Bishop was expected to compete for the starting cornerback position opposite Justin Walley, with former starter Terell Smith likely headed to the NFL.
Minnesota is expected to start spring football practice in late March, culminating in the annual spring game at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 22, at Huntington Bank Stadium.