University of Kansas

KU quarterback Ryan Willis to transfer to Virginia Tech

Kansas quarterback Ryan Willis completed 62 percent of his passes for 811 yards with three touchdowns and seven interceptions in the 2016 season.
Kansas quarterback Ryan Willis completed 62 percent of his passes for 811 yards with three touchdowns and seven interceptions in the 2016 season. along@kcstar.com

Kansas quarterback Ryan Willis will be transferring to Virginia Tech, he announced on his Twitter account Wednesday night.

Willis, a 6-foot-4 sophomore from Overland Park, played in seven games for KU with two starts last season, completing 62 percent of his passes for 811 yards with three touchdowns and seven interceptions.

A report from 247Sports.com’s Evan G. Watkins said Willis would be joining the Hokies as a walk-on.

The quarterback’s connection to Virginia Tech could come from his father. Steve Willis was teammates at Kansas State in the early 1980s with Darrell Dickey, who is the offensive coordinator at Memphis. Dickey spent 2012-15 on Memphis’ staff with Justin Fuente, who became the Virginia Tech’s coach last year.

Willis, who was KU’s top-rated recruit two years ago, set freshman school records in passing yards (1,719) and touchdowns (nine) after being pressed into duty following three quarterback injuries in 2015. A wrist injury in the spring halted his progress, though, as KU coach David Beaty rotated Montell Cozart and Willis at the start of last season.

Beaty named Willis the starter on Oct. 3, and he nearly led KU to an upset, completing 31 of 45 passes for 348 yards with three interceptions in a 24-23 home loss to TCU. Following another three-interception game against Baylor the next week, though, he was replaced by Carter Stanley. Willis didn’t attempt another pass in the final six games.

Last month, Beaty said Stanley and junior-college transfer Peyton Bender were expected to compete for the starting quarterback position in the spring.

Jesse Newell: 816-234-4759, @jessenewell

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