WITN Sports Spotlight: Jayden Willis

Published: Mar. 23, 2021 at 2:51 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 23, 2021 at 7:14 PM EDT
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SNOW HILL, N.C. (WITN) - This week we shine the WITN / Pepsi Sports Spotlight on Greene Central senior football standout Jayden Willis!

The Greene Central varsity football team is just 1-3 so far during this COVID-shortened spring high school football season, but the Rams have a very special player on the defensive side of the ball.

His name is Jayden Willis, and he’s the Rams’ senior captain and gifted defensive end.

His eyes invoke fear.

“He’s probably one of the hardest working kids I’ve ever had,” Greene Central football head coach Jason Wilson said Monday.

His 6-foot-2, 240-pound strength invokes fear.

“He’s really causing a lot of havoc on that D-Line front,” Wilson added.

His academics invoke opportunity.

“I tell them I’m a hard worker, I never give up and I’ll give 100 percent every play,” Willis said when asked about his elevator pitch to college coaches.

Over the past two seasons, Jayden Willis has been Mr. Everything at Greene Central.

On the football field: 70-plus tackles, 15 tackles for loss and a handful of sacks.

“When I know I need a play, he can make one,” said Wilson. “He’s just a born leader.”

In the classroom: 4.0 GPA and master communicator.

“My parents have instilled that in me throughout my whole life,” Willis explained.

“When I know when I need a play, he can make one. He’s just a born leader.”

A few colleges have already reached out, but Willis is still waiting.

“Hopefully, I get that offer I’m chasing right now,” Willis added.

Enjoying one surprise final season with the people he loves most.

“It’s been great because I haven’t been getting the looks I think I’d get, so getting to play has been really good, and I didn’t think it was going happen,” Willis said.

“Somebody is going to get a real steal,” said Wilson. “In about two years they’re going to be like, ‘Oh my God. How did we end up with him?’ And he’s going to be on somebody’s field on Saturday making the same kind of plays he’s making right now.”

Next up for Willis and the Rams are several scheduling changes. Greene Central was originally slated to play West Craven this Friday, but because the Eagles are currently dealing with some COVID protocols, that game has been pushed back to Friday, April 9 at 6:30 p.m. As a result, the Rams will now play at Ayden-Grifton this Friday, March 26 at 6:30 p.m. and will then host Washington the following Thursday, April 1 at 6:30 p.m.

NOTE: If you have a senior student-athlete or athlete that you would like to nominate as a WITN Sports Spotlight, please email a bio to Tyler Feldman at

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