Brandon Willis given release from UCLA scholarship, possibly headed back to North Carolina

Defensive tackle Brandon Willis has been given his release from UCLA, the school confirmed today, and appears headed back to North Carolina. I’ve been told nothing is certain, but it looks like it’s leaning that way.’s North Carolina site is reporting that he will be heading back to the Tar Heels because of the health of his grandmother. I’ve reached out to him, but haven’t heard back yet.

Obviously, a pretty stunning turn of events, and it leaves the Bruins thinner at the defensive tackle spot, but still returning Cassius Marsh, Nate Chandler, Seali’i Epenesa, Donovan Carter and Justin Edison.

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  • rejn

    One single player does not make or break a football team or program. However, this is getting ridiculous. I’m sorry but these tricks and games are getting out of control. Neuheisel is doing his best to build a qulaity program, but when kids are going to screw with you Rick, it’s not your fault.

  • BruinGrad72

    The kids grandma is sick. Cut him some slack. Whats wrong with you?

  • Brock

    that is too bad. i hope his family member recovers and remains in good health though.

  • rejn

    I think someone really needs to talk to these kids about commitment. What it means, to follow through, stay true, and stick with it to the end, no matter how hard it is. Obviously this kid hasn’t learned it and probably will be in for a tough time in life until he does catch on. Good bye and good riddance… Should have never come UCLA and instead stuck it out at North Carolina – no matter what the issues are…


    What? Huh? Why??? Well, looks like I’ll be the first to admit how much I was LOOKING FORWARD to seeing BW in action, how ECSTATIC I was to learn we ended up landing him when that all went down. We almost had him from the start! Let’s remember he was a highly-regarded recruit out of high-school- we absolutely WANTED him! I don’t understand the bashing of him now…Looks like a lot of people out here don’t fully understand how important a grandmother’s role is within the family- especially from those in the South. IF this rumor is true, I for one cannot blame him for wanting to be back home. I mean, the kid is giving up major playing time here, so ease up!!!

  • Yikes McSpikes!

    How does this work? Does he have to sit out yet another year before being able to play at NC, or NCState?

    Could be collecting Social Security before he plays another down in football!

  • issixit

    Are we really even discussing this, other than to say “Good Luck” to both him and his grandmother? Life trumps football and family is most important. Stop being asses.

  • Just Me

    He can play immediately due to him transferring for family health reasons.

    Skeptic in me says he regrets leaving NC and is using the medical loophole to retain eligibility this year…

  • Anonymous

    To those defending Brandon and saying, “Cut him some slack! His Grandma is sick!”:

    Puh-LEAZE!!! The commentors saying he needs to learn the importance of commitment and his word are 100% right. In these times of instant communications, video chats, Skype, etc., he can talk to and see Grandma every day if he wants (for free even). All these kids assume they’re going to make it to the NFL. What if he were drafted by and got a lucrative contract to play with a west coast franchise, and he tried to pull this kind of stunt? Would he expect the Niners or Raiders to cheerfully let him out of the contract to go back and sit by Grandma’s bedside? It’s time to grow up. His family, including Grandma, should encourage him to do so. How’s he gonna feel if Rick and the rest of the coaching staff lose their jobs and ability to support their families as a result of the weakening of the defense? He probably won’t give it a thought. Immaturity. Cut him some slack indeed.

  • MichaelRyerson

    Sometimes the comments around here make my skin crawl. Good Luck to Brandon and his family. Hope everything works out.

  • BruinFaithful

    FFFFFFFFFFFF. Man does this SUCK!!!! We really needed this kid. I hope his grandma gets better and he decides to stay.

    Is this a done deal? Is he 100% gone with no chance to change his mind and return? Or has this ship sailed?

    I think he has to appeal to the NCAA and win. It’s not a done deal that he would not have to sit out.

    Anyways, wish him and grams the best.

  • MaltBaa

    i wish him well along with his grandmother. I also hope he has to sit out another year.

  • Anonymous

    So is he still gonna testify against Kiff?

  • Anonymous

    Wow, his dad must have some crazy contacts to keep moving from place to place from one paying job to the next. I am not being a douche with that comment either, I find it interesting. I wish the family the best.

  • Anonymous

    Good luck BW…wish u could of done something special at UCLA…well good luck man…and hope ur grandma gets better…

  • Anonymous

    WE can trade you’all Larry Dreww II

  • Anonymous

    I’m gonna be an ass and call BS… Call me an ass for saying it but an even bigger ass would use it as an excuse. Something at UCLA probably wasn’t working for him. This whole grandma is sick thing is an excuse to not have to sit out a year. Maybe he couldn’t handle the academics??? Is the NCAA really going to grant him a waiver for grandma being sick? I sure hope not, or every kid in America is gonna transfer to grandma’s hometown when things arent going right. I mean, she’s his grandma, which means she probably like… old… Old people get sick… We can’t live forever.

    If this is a legit excuse and grandma is that sick… He already LEFT North Carolina once, time to grow up young one. If he were soooo close to her then what the heck did he leave for in the first place…

    You guys are too sympathetic.

    I can’t wait to hear his public comments.

  • BruinPain

    I am sorry to hear about Brandon’s imminent departure but completely understand his family reason. Neither I nor anyone here can sit in judgement on BW. His grandmother is in ill health and he wants to be close by. That’s reason enough for me and much bigger than football.


    About half the comments here of this kid transferring were quite negative.

    Just goes to show these kids don’t have to show any “loyalty,” to sports fans, because quite frankly, most sports fans don’t have any real “commitment” to these football players.

    Players are simply pawns for grownups’ entertainment, and nothing more.

  • Anonymous

    To me it just doesn’t make sense. What is the kid going to do for an ailing grandmother from Chapel Hill that he wouldn’t be able to do from LA. I don’t necessarily think he’s lying, I just don’t understand the reasoning.

    As callous as this may sound, grandparents die kid. It’s very sad and we all miss them but our grandparents want us to lead our lives our way and be the best we can be. Your grandmother I’m sure would rather have you grow up to be a great and independent man rather than having you there by her side when she goes.

    Let me add that I don’t know all the circumstances and maybe he has to be there for his family. Nevertheless, his time commitment to any football program is going to be too much for him to a great help anyway.

    Best of luck kid but I believe you are making a big mistake.

  • Bruin4Life

    Man, we thought our run defense was bad last year… we miss you already Akeem.

    Maybe we should offer his Grandmother. I realize that her physicality may be a detriment but we need to bring some toughness to this team.

    Word is that his grandmother was just stricken with grief that her progeny was ruining his life here. Reports say that her health began improving as soon as Brandon left Westwood.

  • Anonymous

    first daddy got a job in socal so he transferred to ucla next granny got sick so he’s gonna transfer to unc sorry but I don’t buy it , maybe it’s time for him to put his big boy pants on and grow a pair

  • PUSC 3

    Family comes first.
    Good luck to you Brandon and a speedy recovery for your grandma.

  • Maze

    For Anonymous @ 9:33am

    “Maybe it’s time for him to put his big boy pants on and grow a pair…”

    …says the ANONYMOUS (and marginally literate) poster on the Internet. Go back to Wolf’s blog.

  • Count_Blah

    Ahhh Bruin “fans”… All class, all the time.

  • Census Report 2010

    For those commentators who are offering their empathy to the young Willis’ aged infirm grandmother, please realize that many ‘grandparents’ are only 30 to 40 years older that a teen. Therefore, footballer Willis’ grandparent may not even eligible to join AARP.

    Another query…why are some commentators so put out by this kid who has more experience transferring schools than making meaningful hits on offensive players.

    Suggestion — adjourn in 2014 to make an appraisal of this ‘student-athlete’ as a credit to his team, whichever one it may be by the time his eleigibility is up.

  • tom

    Well, the two twins from Huntington Beach who went to UNC got homesick (?) and now they’re on our basketball team. No net loss for the U but a tough one for football.

  • B Kim

    you’re a joke. talk about commitment?!? what about all these coaches that recruit and lie to these kids for years to come to their school and just get up and leave for more money. you need to get your head out of your ***.

  • Anonymous

    if the dude doesn’t want to be here we can’t force him to stay. let’s just wish him good luck and move on