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Former Ole Miss standout Patrick Willis nominated for Pro Football Hall of Fame

Patrick Willis Ole Miss
Patrick Willis was a four-year letter winner for Ole Miss from 2003 to 2006 (Photo courtesy of UM Athletics)

Former Ole Miss and NFL star Patrick Willis has been nominated for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Willis, who suited up for the Rebels from 2004-2006 before enjoying a stellar eight-year career with the San Francisco 49ers, was announced Wednesday as one of 15 modern-era finalists for the Hall’s Class of 2023.

During his time in Oxford, Willis was a two-time first-team All-American on his way to winning both the Butkus Award and Lambert Trophy as the nation’s top linebacker in 2006.

The Bruceton, Tenn. native was drafted by San Francisco with the No. 11 overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. Willis led the league in tackles as a rookie in 2007 and again in 2009. He was invited to seven Pro Bowls and named to five All-NFL teams before retiring in March 2015 due to a chronic foot injury.

Since his retirement, Willis has been inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, the College Football Hall of Fame, and the 49ers Hall of Fame. The only stop that remains is the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

A maximum of five modern-era players will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023 on Feb. 9.

The full list of candidates, along with their positions, years, and teams, can be viewed below:

  • Jared Allen, Defensive End – 2004-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2008-2013 Minnesota Vikings, 2014-15 Chicago Bears, 2015 Carolina Panthers
  • Willie Anderson, Offensive Tackle – 1996-2007 Cincinnati Bengals, 2008 Baltimore Raven
  • Ronde Barber, Cornerback/Safety – 1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Dwight Freeney, Defensive End/Outside Linebacker – 2002-2012 Indianapolis Colts, 2013-14 San Diego Chargers, 2015 Arizona Cardinals, 2016 Atlanta Falcons, 2017 Seattle Seahawks, 2017 Detroit Lions
  • Devin Hester, Punt Returner/Kick Returner/Wide Receiver – 2006-2013 Chicago Bears, 2014-15 Atlanta Falcons, 2016 Baltimore Ravens
  • Torry Holt, Wide Receiver – 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Andre Johnson, Wide Receiver – 2003-2014 Houston Texans, 2015 Indianapolis Colts, 2016 Tennessee Titans
  • Albert Lewis, Cornerback – 1983-1993 Kansas City Chiefs, 1994-98 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders
  • Darrelle Revis, Cornerback – 2007-2012 New York Jets, 2013 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2014 New England Patriots, 2015-16 New York Jets, 2017 Kansas City Chiefs
  • Joe Thomas, Offensive Tackle – 2007-2017 Cleveland Browns
  • Zach Thomas, Linebacker – 1996-2007 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Dallas Cowboys
  • DeMarcus Ware, Linebacker/Defensive End – 2005-2013 Dallas Cowboys, 2014-16 Denver Broncos
  • Reggie Wayne, Wide Receiver – 2001-2014 Indianapolis Colts
  • Patrick Willis, Linebacker – 2007-2014 San Francisco 49ers
  • Darren Woodson, Safety – 1992-2003 Dallas Cowboys

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