MONTGOMERY — Several weeks after DeAndre Wills made the decision to leave Nebraska, he was nothing short of happy to be back on the field for the North-South All-Star game Thursday night.
“Before I came back from Nebraska, coach (Kris Herron) called me up and it was just exciting,” Wills said. “Being around new players was good, and it felt great to be back out here with my head coach.”
The former Clay Central standout played defensive line and tight end in the all-star game, recording one tackle in the North’s 20-12 loss. Herron was an assistant coach for the North.
Wills’ decision for his new school is between Jacksonville State and UAB, Herron said. As of Thursday, Wills said he’s planning on playing at UAB, starting in 2015. He added he hopes to enroll this fall.
“It seems like one day he’s thinking one way and another day it’s the other,” Herron said. “Hopefully he’ll still have an opportunity at one of those places. I’ve encouraged him to make that decision on whichever place he feels the most comfortable.”
Thursday’s all-star game came about two weeks after Wills left Lincoln, Neb. He was on campus for about a week, he said, before making the decision to come home due to family illnesses.
“I’m trying to get back close to home in case something does happen,” Wills said. “I also came back just to have fun, play in this all-star game and stuff and start all over again.
“It was the hardest decision of my life, even going through things all my life and through my childhood. I’m not going to regret anything. I’m going to put that in the past and move on with my life.”
Wills, who was a a 2-star recruit, chose Nebraska over Clemson, Ole Miss, Central Arkansas and others. He finished his senior year as Clay Central with 43 tackles, four sacks and a forced fumble.
Herron said, along with Wills’ physical attributes, what makes him a good player is his lack of emotion on the field.
“DeAndre doesn’t get very excited when things are going good or too down when things are going bad. He’s pretty even tempered,” Herron said. “(Thursday) night in the game, the way it started with them popping us two times early, DeAndre was one of those that understood it’s a long football game. I think that’s one of his attributes. He knows you have to just keep playing and it helps him keep using his abilities.”
Sports Writer Brandon Miller: 256-235-3575. On Twitter @bmiller_star.