Courtesy of ESPN the Magazine
So recently I was contacted by a reader and subsequently a gentleman from ESPN about an interesting little topic. The World Wide Leader has had various Next topics ranging back to the beginning of ESPN the Magazine.
Recently they began a new campaign, with a whole new batch of next candidates. And prominently featured: Our boy Patrick Willis. They're hosting a vote at the site and the winner will be featured in the December 5th issue of ESPN the Magazine. The nominees are:
- Patrick Willis, San Francisco 49ers
- Brandon Roy, Portland Trail Blazers
- Joba Chamberlain, New York Yankees
- Noel Devine, West Virginia University RB
- Tyson Gay, Track Star
After bagging the Butkus as a junior at Ole Miss, the 49ers first-round pick has quickly emerged as the leading contender for this year's NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award. It took the soft-spoken Bruceton, Tenn. native only two games to beat out Brandon Moore (the Niners' leading tackler in `06) for the starting middle linebacker spot. And with tutelage from linebacking legend--and 49er assistant coach--Mike Singletary, Willis has translated his tremendous power (he logged a 700-pound squat at the NFL combine), speed (a sub-4.5 40), and field awareness into a team leading 82 tackles (52 solo) in just 9 games.
"He has a chance to get to that place where Ray Lewis already is. It's so rare that you find someone with all that ability." -Hall of Famer Mike Singletary
So head over to ESPN's NEXT Campaign and vote for Willis. Since this is a late Friday, early Saturday post I'll throw this up again early next week.