PISCATAWAY, NJ – Terrell Willis, the leading rusher in Rutgers football history who was a two-time All-BIG EAST selection and was the Conference’s “Rookie of the Year” in 1993, is the 2005 inductee into the Rutgers Football Hall of Fame, it was announced today.
Willis will be recognized at halftime when Rutgers hosts West Virginia in a BIG EAST match-up on Oct. 8 at Rutgers Stadium.
Willis boasted an explosive combination of speed, moves, and balance. In three seasons, the Orange, NJ native rushed for 3,114 yards on 588 carries and 20 touchdowns. With a knack for eluding would-be tacklers with an array of swift spin moves, Willis burst onto the national scene with a brilliant redshirt freshman season in 1993, amassing 2,026 all-purpose yards, which not only shattered the NCAA freshman record previously held by Georgia’s Herschel Walker, but was also second in the nation.
In that memorable 1993 campaign, Willis blazed his way to 1,261 rushing yards, which was the No. 10 rushing figure in the nation (114.6 yards/game), and added 704 kickoff return yards and another 61 receiving yards. Willis was the “lightning” to backfield running mate Bruce Presley’s “thunder” as the two formed the memorable “Thunder and Lightning Backfield” that led Rutgers to the No. 15 rushing offense in the nation in 1993 (235.3 yards/game) and the No. 20 scoring offense (31.9 points/game).
In 1993, Willis was named Rookie of the Year by the BIG EAST, Sports Illustrated, UPI, ECAC and Football News. He was named first-team All-BIG EAST as a running back, second-team All-BIG EAST as a return specialist, and was named ECAC Rookie of the Week six times.
In 1994, Willis ran for 1,080 yards on 216 carries with five touchdowns and again earned first-team All-BIG EAST honors. In 1995, he gained another 773 yards on 177 carries and two touchdowns. In his career, Willis ran for 100 or more yards in a game 10 times and annexed the 200-yard barrier three times. On November 12, 1994, Willis rushed for a school-record 232 yards on 35 carries and two touchdowns. He ran for 221 yards on 37 carries and crossed the goal line four times vs. Army on October 16, 1993 and totaled 207 yards on 35 carries with two touchdowns vs. Navy on September 16, 1995.