Patrick L. Willis was born January 25, 1985 in Bruceton, TN and is a linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers. Willis attended Hollow Rock-Bruceton Central High School where he was a two-time All-State selection, Regional Most Valuable Player, and West Tennessee Player of the Year. He earned 4 letters in football and basketball, and 3 in baseball. He was also the first person in Tennessee state history to be nominated for both the Mr. Football Award for a Lineman (as a linebacker) and the Mr. Football Award for a Back (as a tailback) in the same season.
Willis attended the University of Mississippi ("Ole Miss"), and played for the Ole Miss Rebels football team from 2003 to 2006 and was drafted by the 49ers in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft. Willis finished the 2007 campaign with an NFL-leading 174 total tackles, along with 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 5 passes deflected. According to the 49ers, however, he is unofficially credited with over 200 tackles during that season. As a result, Willis was one of two 49ers selected to the Pro Bowl along with punter Andy Lee. Willis was also named the 2007 AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. Willis has earned Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors in all six years he has played in the NFL.
He is the only player to receive the Butkus Award for best linebacker in more than one category. He won the college Butkus Award in 2006 while at Ole Miss and in 2009, he won the professional Butkus Award while with the San Francisco 49ers.
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