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Drew Willy Quarterback for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Tom Szczerbowski

When Drew Willy arrived in Buffalo from New Jersey the team had yet to show any signs of life since their transition to the Mid American Conference and the Bowl Subdivision. UB was cranking out terrible season after terrible season and the teams head coach, Jim Hofher, was on his way to being replaced.

Willy was handed the team mid way through his freshman year and he acquitted himself well enough to keep the job under Buffalo's next coach, Turner Gill.

Willy became a hero in Buffalo and then bounced around the NFL as a backup before he landed on the UFL champion Las Vegas Loco's. Another short stint in the NFL came before he moved up to Canada to play in the CFL for Saskatchewan. All told Drew Willy has played for three championship teams.

In 2008 he won the Mid American Conference Championship as a starter, in 2010 he came off the bench to help Las Vegas during their UFL title season, and then last season Willy was once again called up from the bench in relief of an injured quarterback as he helped secure a Grey cup season for the Rough-riders.

Year League School G Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A TD Int Rate
2005 NCAA Buffalo 10 149 246 60.6 1481 6 6 12 109.4
2006 NCAA Buffalo 8 138 231 59.7 1391 6 6 6 113.7
2007 NCAA Buffalo 12 258 377 68.4 2572 6.8 15 6 135.7
2008* NCAA Buffalo 14 304 468 65 3304 7.1 25 6 139.3
2010* UFL Las Vegas 8 57 96 59.4 535 5.6 2 1 77.4
2012 CFL Saskatchewan 3 69 95 72.6 709 7.5 5 4 93.7
2012* CFL Saskatchewan 5
32 52 61.5 473 9.1 4 1 93.7

In three years as a starter Willy shattered school passing records and lead the Bulls to two division titles (2007,2008), one conference title (2008), and the schools first Bowl appearance. After his 2008 season most recruiting experts had Willy as a fifth or sixth round pick. Willy however slid to free agency where he was picked up by the Ravens and then by the Colts.

Drew was the third quarterback on the Colts when they won the AFC championship in 2009. After that season the Colts released Willy and Drew headed to the UFL.

Willy made his UFL debut on October 23 he completed 18 of 29 passes that day for 191 yards and a touchdown. In Las Vegas he was the backup to Tim Rattay, when Rattay went down with three games left backup quarterbacks Drew Willy and Chase Clement took turns leading the Loco's. Eventually Las Vegas won the UFL Championship.

After stints with the Jets and Chargers Willy signed with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Once again Drew was brought in as a backup, this time for Darian Durant. Like Las Vegas the Roughriders would need Willy's services during his first year on the team.

After Durant went down injured Willy made his first CFL start on September 16 2012 in Montreal against the Montreal Alouettes. He completed 22-of-35 passes for 225 yards and a touchdown with 2 interceptions. Willy next saw action July 27 2013, against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. He completed 14 of 25 pass attempts for 269 yards with 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions earning his first CFL win.

In two season with the Roughriders Willy was utilized in a backup role. He played in a total of 8 games, passing for 1,182 yards with 9 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.

When the Ottawa Redblack's team was starting there were rumors that Willy would be picked up as an expansion quarterback. Before that could happen, on February 6, 2014, Willy was traded to the Blue Bombers for non-import wide receiver Jade Etienne.

In February the new Bombers head coach, Mike O'Shea, anointed Drew Willy as the team's new No. 1 quarterback. Willy, for now, sits above former Arizona Cardinals starting quarterback Max Hall. Hall was the starter last season when Winnipeg went 3-15.

For the last two years Willy was the plucky backup that many fans wanted to see start over the entrenched starter. This year the pressure is going to be on Drew to maintain his role as the teams leader. Nothing is a given in football so Drew will have to outplay both Hall and former Miami/Purdue quarterback Robert Marve. It's a challenge that the kids from New Jersey is taking in stride.