The Man Behind The Helmet: The Matthew Willis Story.

Dustin MaulContributor IAugust 10, 2010

DENVER - AUGUST 30:  Matthew Willis #12 of the Denver Broncos recieves a kick off against the Chicago Bears during preseason NFL action at INVESCO Field at Mile High on August 30, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. The Bears defeated the Broncos 27-17.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Matthew Willis has always been fast, maybe that’s why no one saw him coming. Willis has been a standout this entire off season, receiving praise from team veterans, and coaches.


The real question is, where did this kid come from? It is hard to say. Having conducted research on him I can say that he has never really stood out anywhere. For now, let’s explore Matthew Willis’ past.


Matthew Willis was born April 13th, 1984 in Dallas, Texas. He attended Servite High School in California. In High school, the game of football was an afterthought for Willis. He only played his Freshman and Sophmore years.


Like I said before, Willis is known for his speed. In High school, Willis was a superstar track runner. In 2003, he was a part of the US Junior National track team and participated in the Junior Pan Am Games in Barbados.


Matthew Willis attended College at UCLA, where he majored in sociology. During his freshman and sophomore years, Willis again chose track over football. But in his Junior and Senior year he decided to play the game that he was destined to play—football!


His statistics during his two year collegiate career and not eye catching, to say the least. He played in eight (8) games in 2005. Amassing three (3) receptions for twenty nine (29) yards, and 1 touchdown. In 2006 his numbers improved. He played in 13 games, amassing twenty one (21) receptions for 219 yards and two (2) touchdowns.


Willis was signed by the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted rookie free agent on May 4 2007. In his rookie year, he played in five games making one reception for 11 yards, he also spent some time on defense making one tackle. He was released from the team's practice squad on September 17, 2008 to make room for defensive tackle J’Vonne Parker.


Willis was signed to the practice squad of the Denver Broncos on December 23, 2008 and remained there through the end of the season.


The following year, Willis was waived during final cuts on September 5 and re-signed to the team's practice squad. He was promoted to the active roster on January 1, 2010 after Offensive tackle Herb Taylor was waived.


So how is it that this 6-0 190 pound receiver who has gone unnoticed throughout his entire career, has suddenly exploded and looked like a seasoned veteran? Credit it to his apparent hard work ethic. He was one of ten Broncos players that received a “hardest off season worker award.”


Willis could be one of the Broncos best kept secrets. Opposing defenses are never going to know what hit them. You know what they say, the worst punches are the ones that you never see coming, and no one saw Willis coming.