The Cleveland Browns announced that they’ve signed WR Derrick Willies to the practice squad.
#Browns signed an old friend to the practice squad in receiver Derrick Willies. Originally signed by the Browns as an undrafted rookie out of Texas Tech in '18.
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) November 17, 2020
This is Willies’ second stint with the Browns.
The Browns signed Willies as a UDFA following the 2018 NFL Draft.
Great to see [email protected] bringing back Derrick Willies. Have always loved his upside. Bad luck injuries ruined his chances in the past.
Anyone remember the big plays he made against the Ravens in 2018 in the first game at home?
— Mayfield Garrett Era 🐶🍁(6-3) (@MylesOffTheEdge) November 17, 2020
He ended up on IR 6 weeks into the 2018 season with a shoulder injury.
Willies continued with the Browns through 2019 until his practice squad contract expired on January 6, 2020.
He appeared in 5 games and caught 3 passes for 61 yards between 2018 and 2019.
Derrick Willies College Career
Willies started his NCAA career at the University of Iowa.
He played part of his redshirt freshman season and netted 4 catches for 71 yards and 1 TD before transferring to Trinity Valley Community College in Texas.
Following a brief stint at Trinity, Willies played his last two seasons at Texas Tech.
He caught 36 passes for 592 yards and 5 TDs for Texas Tech.
Mentored By His High School Track Coach
Derrick Willies does not talk much about his childhood.
He moved around a lot partly because his father served in the military.
Rod Storch, the Burlington High School track coach, came in contact with Willies when he was playing freshman football.
Storch believed Willies needed to run track.
And he was right.
Willies eventually won Illinois state championships in 3 events: 110-meter hurdles, 300-meter hurdles and 300-meter dash.
Rod Storch relocated to Texas but would stay in Willies’ life.
Storch was instrumental in setting Derrick up in a new living situation with his nephew Nick and his wife Cassie in Iowa.
When Derrick chose to leave the University of Iowa midseason and go to Trinity Valley Community College, Storch was there to help him get settled.
At Trinity Valley, Willies was known as “The Mercenary”.
Trinity Valley’s head coach at the time Brad Smiley said Willies was on a mission.
“He was in there to make plays, graduate and go back to Division I.”
He had multiple offers besides Texas Tech.
Willies even toured Oklahoma; his tour guide was Baker Mayfield.
When he was signed in 2018, Willies joked.
“(Mayfield) still gives me shit because I didn’t go there with him.”
Through all of his ups and downs, Derrick credits Rod Storch and Nick and Cassie Gieselman for showing him what family is.
Welcome back to Cleveland Derrick Willies!