One of the top quarterback prospects for the 2022 NFL Draft is former Liberty quarterback Malik Willis, who could see his name called up in the first round of the April draft. Willis started his college career at Auburn before transferring to Liberty, where he was responsible for more than 30 touchdowns during the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
Here’s everything you need to know about Malik Willis’ college career.
Malik Willis’ Vital Signs
Schools: Auburn, Liberty
Mass: 215 pounds
Active years: 2017-21
Here are Malik Willis’ college success stats. You may need to scroll right to view the full table.
Below are Willis’ career stats.
Where did Malik Willis go to college?
In December 2016 — Willis’ senior year of high school — he committed to Auburn. He also received scholarship offers from Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Tulane, among other schools, according to 247Sports. After playing at Auburn for two seasons, Willis was traded to Liberty.
What kind of prospect was Malik Willis in high school?
At Roswell (Ga.) High School, Willis was a three-star college prospect, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, which ranked him 368th among 2017 high school graduates. He was ranked No. 35 in Georgia State, rich in talent. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution named Willis the North Fulton Offensive Player of the Year when the newspaper published its high school football teams in December 2016.
As a senior at Roswell, Willis led his team to the Class AAAAAAA championship game with an undefeated record, but Roswell fell to Grayson High School 23-20 in overtime at the Georgia Dome. It was the second straight season in which Roswell lost in a league game. Willis forced overtime on the final play of regulation with a 20-yard touchdown pass. He had 301 total rushing yards in the game, including a team-high 40 rushing yards.
What was Malik Willis’ college record?
In the 35 college games he played at Auburn or Liberty, Willis’ teams went 27-8. When he became a full-time starter after transferring to Liberty, the Flames went 9-1 when Willis played in 2020 and 8-5 in 2021.
What were Malik Willis’ best games in college?
Here are some of Willis’ most notable performances in college:
October 17, 2020 | Freedom 38, Syracuse 21
Playing on the road against an ACC opponent, Willis led Liberty to a 17-point victory in which he tied the highest single-game completion percentage of his career at Liberty, 80%, as he completed 16 of 20 passing attempts for 182 yards and a touchdown. His 4-yard touchdown run in the first quarter gave Liberty a 14-7 lead and the Flames never trailed from that point on.
October 24, 2020 | Freedom 56, Miss South 35
Willis tied Liberty’s single-game touchdown record with six touchdowns, including five in the first half – one to end each of the Flames’ first-half offensive possessions. He completed 24 of 31 passes for 345 yards, an average of 11.1 yards per attempt and a passing efficiency rating of 234.8. Willis also rushed for a team-best 97 yards and a 38-yard touchdown.
December 26, 2020 (Cure Bowl) | Freedom 37, Coastal Carolina 34
Playing No. 9 and previously undefeated Coastal Carolina in the Cure Bowl, Willis set a career high with four rushing touchdowns on 21 carries for 137 yards, averaging 6.5 yards per attempt. It wasn’t Willis’ best passing performance of his career, with two interceptions and no passing touchdowns, but he completed 65% of his passes for 210 yards. Liberty won, capping a season in which it cracked the AP Top 25 as an FBS independent.
September 18, 2021 | Liberty 45, Old Dominion 17
In a 28-point win over Old Dominion, Willis was responsible for six total touchdowns, the second most of his career. He completed 75% of 28 attempts for 242 yards and four touchdowns, while rushing for 77 yards and two scores on just nine attempts.
What have people said about Malik Willis?
the Ledger-InvestigatorMichael’s Michael Niziolek on Willis’ role ahead of Spring 2017 training: “Auburn’s new offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey will decide the rep allocation this spring, a rotation the team has yet to reveal. (Sean) White’s forearm injury could leave a open to young suitors like (Woody) Barrett and Willis to make a These are long shots for the starting job, but getting into the mix for one of the main backup roles could help them see the ground up. fall.
Then-Auburn coach Gus Malzahn recounts what he’s seen of Willis so far during spring training in early March 2017 (courtesy Ledger-Investigator): “Malik has a really strong arm and that’s really what’s hitting me right now. It’s just a matter of getting used to a new attack and everything that comes with it. There’s a lot of moving parts just with the communication before the game and then you have the game and the readings and everything that goes with it. He has a very good attitude but he has a very strong arm.
Malzahn after Auburn’s A-Day scrimmage in April 2017, when he threw for 157 yards (courtesy of Ledger-Investigator): “For a guy who should still be in high school, I think he’s really doing things to really impress our coaches. He’s got the offense right. I know he took a sack or two today, but it is because he is young.”
Doug Segrest of the Montgomery Advertiser after Willis’ first college game against Missouri: “Willis first caused a stir in the spring and was quickly named Auburn’s quarterback of the future. On Saturday night television, he was quickly compared to Cam Newton, which is laughable. Think about it: he There’s not even another quarterback in the NFL you’d compare to Cam Auburn doesn’t need Willis to be comparable to anyone He just needs to grow up, get up to speed. ease and be ready if needed Ideally this will be on the road.
Malzahn, after Willis went 8-for-20 on a windy day in Auburn’s 2018 A-Game scrimmage (courtesy Montgomery Advertiser): “Thinking of Malik Willis, I think we had a guy named Cam Newton a few years ago, I think he went 3 out of 8 for the spring game. Nobody was really worried and I think he won the Heisman Trophy.”
Brad Zimanek of the Montgomery Advertiser, after Auburn defeated Liberty (Willis’ future school) in November 2018: “QB Jarrett Stidham is unlikely to return to Auburn next season. Malik Willis saw limited second-half action against Liberty, even scoring a touchdown on a 16-yard run to give Auburn a 53-0 lead. But Willis won’t be the Tigers’ starting quarterback next year.Despite all his athletic ability, he struggles to lead the offense.
the Advertiser Montgomeryfrom Josh Vitale: “The writing was on the wall as soon as Gus Malzahn announced that Auburn would focus their 2019 quarterback competition on rookie Joey Gatewood and true rookie Bo Nix. Junior Malik Willis, (once) considered the heir vacancy vacated by Jarrett Stidham plans to list his name on the NCAA transfer portal.”
Western Kentucky coach Tyson Helton after Willis’ first career start at Liberty in September 2020 (Courtesy of Park City Daily News): “The quarterback was very athletic, could run and scramble, which I knew coming into the game, he had this ability to do the things he did, make the plays when he needed to.”
the American Hattiesburgfrom Landon Bost, after Liberty defeated Southern Miss in October 2020: “Auburn transfer Malik Willis tied Liberty’s single-game touchdown record, set by Phil Basso in 1984, with six. He had five touchdowns on Liberty’s five drives in the first half and was 16 of 21 for 216 yards in the half. Willis threw to nine different receivers and finished with 345 yards on 24 of 31 passes, in addition to 97 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown.”
the Official newspaperafter Liberty defeated West Carolina 58-14 in November 2020: “Malik Willis threw for 306 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for two more as the Flames won their 10th straight game and trail Notre Dame for the longest active winning streak in the nation.”
Ricky Rahne, Old Dominion coach (courtesy Daily Press): “You have to keep him in the pocket as much as possible, knowing he can extend plays and do that kind of stuff. I was really impressed with the way he kicked the football from inside the pocket this There’s a reason why he’s so hyped up to be a possible first-round pick as he is. He’s a very, very good player.
the Daily PressDavid Hall: “Malik Willis came as advertised, and more. The quarterback from Liberty has the attention of NFL scouts, and now he has it from Old Dominion. Willis passed for 242 yards and four touchdowns while still rushing for two more on Saturday as the frantic Flames handed ODU a 45-17 non-conference loss at Williams Stadium.”
PA’s Mark Long: “Malik Willis refused to settle for a backup role. Liberty’s biggest star and potentially the first quarterback selected in the NFL Draft in April, left Auburn after two raking seasons and was traded to play for Coach Hugh Freeze in Lynchburg, Va. It was one of the best decisions of Willis’ football career, maybe even his life. Now he may never have Once relegated to watching Bo Nix and Joey Gatewood compete for a starting spot, Willis is widely considered among the top professional QB prospects in college this season. ‘Associated Press highlights each week during the season.
Liberty coach Hugh Freeze, after the 2021 LendingTree Bowl (courtesy of Daily Press): “That’s the style of Malik Willis. Making plays with his feet, making good throws, explosive plays, smiling on the sidelines, giving everyone credit and finishing with a lot of humility and leadership. He will certainly be missed by The Mountain.”