Willis named starter

Published 7:50 pm Monday, August 26, 2019

Undrafted rookie and former Troy Trojan receiver Damion Willis heard the news he was waiting to hear on Sunday when he learned he was named as a starter for the Cincinnati Bengals season opener.

Willis will fill in for Pro Bowler A.J. Green, who sustained a foot injury.

“I’m just finding out,” Willis said via the team’s website. “I’m going to wait until Saturday to celebrate.”

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Willis has been a popular target while filling in for the former Georgia Bulldog. Willis has played in all three of the Bengal preseason games. He has made one start and has nine total catches for 118 yards and is averaging 13 yards per reception. He has one touchdown reception and it came in game three in the Bengals loss to the Giants on Thursday.

Willis played two seasons for the Trojans in 2017 and 2018 under head coach Neal Brown. Willis caught 98 passes in his career with 1,496 yards and 13 touchdowns. As a senior, Willis had 10 touchdowns with 876 yards.

“I’m so proud of this guy,” Brown said on Twitter. “Always practiced hard, took care of his body, studies, didn’t make excuses, always accountable, and a great teammate. Went undrafted, didn’t feel sorry for himself and went to work. Destiny favors the prepared.”

Willis and the Bengals will close out the preseason on Thursday when they host the Indianapolis Colts. Willis will make his first official start in the season opener on the road against the Seattle Seahawks.