The XFL has blessed fans and followers with another tid-bit of information that for a group starving for anything XFL, and it wasn’t even an official announcement. Per XFL News Hub Mike Mitchell eight of the nine QBs that were at Jordan Palmer’s Laguana Beach Training facility were actually assigned a team. For XFL St. Louis, Anthony Becht and Bruce Gradkowski, will be bringing Ryan Willis the Hal Mumme Air Raid disciple as the first player for the St. Louis roster.
Though not penciled in as QB1 Willis does enter St. Louis’ camp with the pedigree to command first team reps out the gate. Originally from Kansas (Barely), Willis was a home-grown talent out of Roeland Park, KS which is about 10 minutes from Kansas City, Missouri. He’d commit to Kansas and start 10 games over two seasons. Unfortunately, for Willis injuries and demotion led to his transfer from his home state school to Virginia Tech.
Willis would get off to a hot start after sitting out 2017. After battling with Josh Jackson for the starting job, Willis would start 10 games in 2018 throwing for 24 TDs and 2,716 Yards, upon the transfer of Jackson, Willis then had to battle with Hendon Hooker in 2019. Willis played just five games, throwing for 906 yards, and nine touchdowns. Willis would then go undrafted in the 2020 NFL Draft and signed with the Linemen of The Spring League in 2021.
It was Willis’s tenure in The Spring League where Willis would begin thriving. His 13 TD’s and 1,680 Passing Yards would lead the league over future USFL QBs like, DeAndre Johnson, Luis Perez, Vad Lee, and Brady White. He’d eventually win the Megabowl Championship, and Spring League MVP, before beginning a second attempt at a shot in the NFL.
Eventually after several workouts, Willis late in the 2021 season would latch on with the Bears and be active for one game against the Seahawks. Unfortunately, in May of 2022 he was released and has been a free agent since. He earned $64,266 as a member of the Bears in 2021.
Whether Willis does take the reigns as Bruce Gradkowski’s QB1 or not the St. Louis XFL franchise is getting a proven and experienced leader in their locker room. Willis has been around Alt-Football, and solid pros like Andy Dalton, Stan Bedwell, and Nick Foles. Ultimately, for fans and players a like we can all rejoice as it appears that things in the XFL continue to move forward and teams will now have centerpieces to begin building the 2023 season around.
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