Willis Singleton wasn’t always a football player.
“I started off playing baseball when I was 5,” the Warren senior said. “I loved baseball. I was pretty good too, I could hit home runs. I could rake.”
But three years later, Singleton started playing football. He’s pretty good in that sport too, good enough to pick up 20 scholarship offers. On Monday, the 6-2, 287-pound defensive tackle gave an oral commitment to Iowa State.
The Cyclones were one of five finalists along with Illinois, Michigan State, Cincinnati and Louisville. Singleton also had Power Five offers from Missouri and Washington State.
Why Iowa State?
“The biggest thing was just feeling that fit, that feeling you can’t explain when you know someplace is home,” he said.
Singleton, who is 20th in the state and 83rd nationally among defensive tackles in 247Sports’ composite rankings, is Iowa State’s only Illinois recruit in the Class of 2020. But the Cyclones could be more of a player here going forward.
“If Matt Campbell can keep showing an upward trajectory in Ames, Iowa State will become more of a recruiting force in Chicago and beyond,” Rivals Midwest recruiting analyst Josh Helmholdt said.
As for Singleton, Helmholdt sees the Cyclones as a good fit.
“Iowa State plays a three-man front and that suits Singleton’s game well,” Helmholdt said. “He’s best as an A-gap defender who can occupy blockers and fill running lanes.”
“My dad taught me when I was very young that things are going to be hard in life,” Singleton said. “But if you work hard, God will give back. I worked hard at what I loved.
“It was my dream (to play college football) since I was a little kid.”
He has no complaints about the recruiting process, but is glad to move on.
“I’m excited that it’s over and now I can just enjoy this last ride with kids I’ve been playing with since youth ball,” Singleton said.