EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State senior safety Khari Willis has been named one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I FBS senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. Former Spartan quarterback Kirk Cousins won the award in 2011.
Fans can vote for Willis at: http://www.seniorclassaward.com/athletes/khari_willis/
Earlier this fall, Willis was named a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, which is awarded annually by the National Football Foundation to the nation’s top scholar-athlete. The award is also widely known as the “Academic Heisman.” This marks the seventh time in the past eight years that the Spartans have had a semifinalist for the Campbell Trophy, including three finalists.
A two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, Willis owns a 3.24 grade-point average as an interdisciplinary studies in social science major, with an emphasis on community governance & advocacy. He was voted a captain by his teammates entering his senior season and has 156 tackles, 13 pass break-ups and four interceptions in 40 career games, including 24 starts. Through seven games this season, Willis has recorded 44 tackles, seven pass break-ups and a team-leading two interceptions for the Spartans. He was named to the Pro Football Focus All-Big Ten midseason team.
The 6-0, 215-pound Willis was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after leading the Spartans with a season-high nine tackles, including seven solo stops, in MSU’s 21-17 win at No. 8 Penn State on Oct. 13. The Jackson, Michigan, native also forced a fumble on PSU quarterback Trace McSorley in the first quarter. Willis’ effort helped the Spartans hold Penn State to a season low in points (17) and first downs (14).
Willis was the keynote player speaker at the 2018 Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon in Chicago, and delivered an inspirational speech calling on his fellow Big Ten players to make a difference in their communities. He received a standing ovation and video of his speech went viral across social media (158,000 views on Twitter; 98,000 views on Facebook; nearly 10,000 on YouTube).
Willis is also a candidate for the Wuerffel Trophy, presented annually to the player who best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement, and was MSU’s nominee for the Allstate/AFCA Good Works Team.
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