BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) -- Ryan Willis took over under center when Josh Jackson went down with a broken leg in September.
The Kansas transfer played in 11 games, including the last 9 as the starter, completing 58 percent of his passes for nearly 25 hundred yards and 22 TD's against 8 interceptions. He also rushed for 321 yards and 3 scores. Willis recently reflected on his year which included some good with some plays he'd love to have back.
"It's good to step back and reflect. I think you see things that weren't as apparent in the moment. It's like life. You have to take a step back and look at the bigger picture of things. We didn't have the season that we wanted to have. I wish we could have been more productive at times but it's football. There's a winner and a loser in every game and sometimes the ball doesn't fall your way," Willis said.
Willis laid everything on the field for the Hokies, endearing himself to his teammates and coaches.
"It's easy to work hard when you are the starter. It's hard to work hard when you are the backup. But you never know. You are one play away from going into a contested game. For Ryan to continue to work and battle and to be prepared, the game he went into, he came in and he was productive, I think speaks volumes about him. I'm proud of how he handled it. He has improved as the season has gone along. He continues to try and do what we've asked him to do," Virginia Tech Head Coach Justin Fuente said.
"It's pretty apparent that I have a passion for this game. Every time I step onto the field I'm blessed and lucky. Playing Division One Football is pretty freaking cool what we're doing out there so I don't take any moments for granted. I've got to make the most of every opportunity," Willis said.
Following the bowl game, Ryan will turn his attention to spring practice with an eye towards next season, and he doesn't plan on giving up his job anytime soon.
"I've always had the outlook, I want to be the guy in the field. I don't think anyone wants to settle on being a backup. I'm kind of an all in guy. Whatever the coaches want to do they are going to do. Whoever is going to put us in the best position to have success, is going to be on the field. If that's me, great. If it's someone else and it's for the team, I get it. But I'm going to do everything in my power not to lose this spot I'm in right now," he said.