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Former Troup standout commits to Auburn

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

Another player with local ties is set to make Auburn University his home.

During the 2020 season, four players from Troup County schools were members of the Auburn football team.

That number will grow to five next season, with former Troup Tiger Joko Willis set to sign his letter of intent with Auburn on Wednesday.

Willis, who graduated from Troup in 2019 and spent the past two seasons at Independence Community College in Kansas, announced his intention to sign with Auburn during a social-media post on Monday.

In his post, Willis wrote “first off, I want to thank God for blessing me with this opportunity. I’m very thankful for my coaches, family and friends helping me along the way. Y’all have pushed me and helped me grind daily. That being said, I’m committed to (Auburn University).”

Willis was an all-state linebacker as a junior at Troup, and he moved to wide receiver and had an outstanding senior season in 2018 when he led the team with 39 catches while scoring eight touchdowns.

Willis signed with Independence College in January of 2019, and he was red-shirted his first year, and the 2020 season was canceled because of COVID-19.

Willis has signed with Auburn as a linebacker.

Willis will join forces with a former teammate at Troup, Kobe Hudson, who was a freshman wide receiver at Auburn last season. In 2018, Hudson was a quarterback when Troup reached the Class AAAA state semifinals for the second time in program history.

Three Callaway graduates who Willis went up against in high school are also at Auburn.

Running back Tank Bigsby was the SEC freshman of the year in 2020, red-shirt freshman Keiondre Jones started much of the season on the offensive line, and freshman Tate Johnson was a backup offensive lineman.

Bigsby, Jones, Johnson and Hudson were all recruited by head coach Gus Malzahn, who was fired following the 2020 season.

Auburn’s new head coach is Bryan Harsin.