Miami Hurricanes DT Gerald Willis returns to the team, won’t play in 2017

In this image from a UM-produced video, Gerald Willis beats Hayden Mahoney in a one-on-one drill.

In this image from a UM-produced video, Gerald Willis beats Hayden Mahoney in a one-on-one drill.

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CORAL GABLES — Gerald Willis is back, or something close to it.

Willis, the redshirt junior defensive tackle from New Orleans, has re-enrolled at UM after taking the summer off. He is practicing with the team, but will not play in 2017, coach Mark Richt said Tuesday.

Willis remains on a leave of absence for personal reasons, which Richt and other coaches and teammates have declined to address. He was away from the team this offseason, after participating in spring ball, and spent part of the summer in Los Angeles.

He practiced Sunday and Tuesday — UM has Mondays off — and will be able to play on the scout team this fall.

The Hurricanes are likely to need him next year, since starting defensive tackles Kendrick Norton and RJ McIntosh, both juniors, could turn pro early. A top backup, senior Anthony Moten, will graduate. The returning cast next year includes sophomore Pat Bethel, redshirt freshman Tyreic Martin and freshman Jon Ford.

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