“I saw this car in front of me, and it had all kinds of black smoke coming out of it,” the former Clemson star told TigerNet that night. “I tried to speed up and get up next to the car to let them know the car was on fire.”
By the time the car pulled over, Willard said, it was in flames. The undrafted free-agent signee said he and another man got three children and their dog to safety before finally persuading the kids' mother to leave the vehicle.
“The driver, she acted like she was in some kind of daze or something," Willard said. "She told me that she didn’t stop because she didn’t think it was her car that was on fire."
But when it was all over, the player said she couldn't have been more grateful.
“She just kept thanking me,” said Willard, who tweeted a photo of the engulfed car producing massive amounts of black smoke. “That car was just gone. It went up quick.”
He added: “I was just glad that we got the kids and all of them out of the car. I was thinking that I was just doing what everybody else would do, but there were cars just going past us and no one else was stopping, so I don’t know if that is what would happen or not.”
But for a young player on his way to fight for a spot on a pro football roster, the incident helped put things in perspective.
"A great thing happened today," Willard told WPDE News Channel 15 (see video above). "You know, football, I love doing it, but I know there is more to life than just football. Today kind of helped me see that aspect more."