Torero Football welcomes a new quarterback

Kelly McPherson | Contributor

The 2015 University of San Diego football season is already full of changes and it is only August. Last year, two major announcements prompted shuffling in the football team roster. The first announcement was that our starting quarterback would be transferring. The second was that our first game would be held at Qualcomm Stadium against crosstown rival, San Diego State.

After these two major announcements, some last minute recruiting needed to be done to fill the hole at quarterback and start preparing for the season opener against State. That recruiting brought quarterback Chris Willson to USD.

Willson, a family oriented young man, grew up in West Covina, California, a town right outside Los Angeles. Originally, he played both baseball and football at Wake Forest, before transferring to University of Southern California (USC) to fully commit to playing football and follow his passion of playing quarterback.

Willson was then converted into a tight end, forcing him to adapt to a new position again despite his love of quarterback.

Throughout his upbringing, and increasingly through college, Willson has built and centered himself around his spirituality. While at USC he developed a passion for helping others, which he decided to pursue.

“I am a man of faith,” Willson said. “I am very passionate about who I am and what I believe in. My faith in Christ permeates throughout my life. I am passionate about helping others which has lead me to create my own foundation, called Fundamentals, which is aimed at teaching youth the fundamentals of sport and spirituality. This is something I felt I could take with me once I left college.”

Willson has used his spirituality and faith to not only build a foundation to help youth, but to also drive himself past obstacles and challenges that he has faced throughout his college athletic career and other endeavors.

Willson’s first major change came when he transferred from Wake Forest to USC to play football. After graduating from USC in May of 2015, Willson decided to make another major change. He transferred to USD to pursue a masters in Leadership and Education, and play one last NCAA football season.

“After I broke my foot the first game of the 2014 season at USC, I re-evaluated what my dreams and ambitions were for my life,” Willson said. “With the help of family and friends and persistent prayer, I realized that playing quarterback is my true passion and that I needed to find a place where I would have the opportunity to play. Once the NCAA granted me a rare 6th season, I looked for a school where I could continue my education and get a masters degree as well as get the opportunity to compete and follow my passion of playing quarterback.”

The 6’5” 250 lb senior has overcome many obstacles in his athletic career. He has had five major injuries including surgeries on both knees, a fractured back, surgery on his right shoulder, and a broken foot that required surgery. But despite these bumps in his journey, he continues to push himself.

“At the time the injuries occurred, there was no means to an end. It was terrible, and I just wanted to give up, but God has really opened my eyes to see things in a lighter view and to see the bigger picture,” Willson said. “In hindsight, each of my injuries has not only brought me closer to God but has taught me valuable lessons on how to take care of my body and appreciate every play that I do have that much more.”

Despite these injuries, Willson has kept a positive attitude and strong faith. He continues to strive to be better, both athletically and personally, everyday.

Now healthy and working toward a bright future, the quarterback has a positive outlook on the upcoming season. Willson is fighting for the starting spot and has many goals for himself and his teammates.

“Personally, I would like to play every play as if it is my last to maximize the gifts and potential that God has given me,” Willson said.

“As for team goals, to obviously beat State, and win every game, but ultimately my goal for this team is to end the season knowing that we put in as much as we could at all times so we can look back at the season without any regrets. I am looking forward to going to battle every Saturday with this new family that I have acquired. This team has already become very special to me and I look forward to having the opportunity to lead them both on and off the field.“

Willson is excited to begin another journey in his life, with the hopes of becoming the Toreros’ 2015 starting quarterback. If all goes well, Willson will be leading the team to their second straight appearance in the FCS playoffs.