Malik Willis eventually got off the board at the 2022 NFL Draft after 86 picks. The Titans selected the Liberty quarterback in the third round (86th overall), ending one of the draft’s most talked-about slips.
Willis’ great numbers with the Flames and outstanding interviews sparked a lot of discussion. He’ll start his NFL career as a backup to Ryan Tannehill, but that could change quickly – Tannehill is a free agency after the 2023 season, and his salary next year isn’t guaranteed.
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The Titans have been banging on the door for the previous few seasons but have yet to succeed. If they fail to make the playoffs for the third year in a row, they may give Willis a hard look in the offseason.
Malik Willis: Who Is He?
Malik Willis is an Atlanta native and American football quarterback who was born on May 25, 1999. Shasta Grier and Harold Willis are his parents. Willis’ uncle played in the NFL for 11 seasons as well.
Willis attended Atlanta’s West Lake High School and graduated with honours. He attended Roswell High School in Roswell, Georgia, for his final year and then Auburn University. He appeared in 15 games for the college there.
Malik Willis played for the Auburn Tigers from 2017 to 2018 before being moved to Liberty University. Willis completed 11 of 14 throws for 69 yards and a score in his final season at Auburn.
Due to NAAC transfer regulations, he did not play in the 2019 season. In 2020, he started the game against Southern Mississippi with 6 touchdowns.
He has received numerous honours for his outstanding work. He was the number one running quarterback in the country, with seven rushing touchdowns and 16 rushing yards. A Dudley award was given to honour the occasion, which is given to the best player in the state of Virginia, as well as several other awards.
The question then becomes why Malik Willis chose liberty over auburn. Were there any particular reasons behind this? Let’s find out.
Why did Malik Willis choose Liberty University as his college?
His performance at Auburn was good, but due to his approach toward watching films, he was not able to start as a quarterback under coach Gus Malzahn. Malik was only utilised as a quarterback on a few occasions. It prompted Willis to consider moving to a new location.
“Gus Malzahn didn’t have to do it” (tell me). Willis stated, “I knew.” “I was such a child.” I’d just had a great spring game, but I’d learned the hard way that spring games aren’t really important. After that meeting, I resolved to do better, but I needed to find a new place to sleep and someone to assist me in getting where I needed to go.”
Willis has stated, “I don’t think there’s anything in life that I haven’t prayed for and received in some way, shape, or form.” “He’ll give you what you need, and he’ll do it on his own schedule.” You can’t change anything; all you can do is be faithful.” Regarding his transfer to the Liberty Flames, Willis has stated.
Willis’ leadership qualities appear to please the faculty at Liberty Flames. Maurice Harris, Liberty’s co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach, says “He holds other folks accountable exceptionally well.”
Willis has led the Liberty Flames to victories over Virginia Tech, completing 20 of 30 throws for 3 touchdowns, rushing 108 yards and a touchdown for the first time, and several more victories, all of which are firsts for Malik Willis.
He accepts full responsibility for his immaturities, which may explain why he is now the most powerful player in the game. Willis made the best decision by relocating to freedom.
To receive what he truly deserves, Malik required the right amount of coaching and assistance along the process. Hugh Freeze, the liberty coach, is in charge of making it happen.
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You can escape but not hide!
While Willis has a powerful arm, he also has the ability to generate opportunities with his legs. Willis led all FBS quarterbacks in rushing last season, gaining 944 yards on the ground and 14 touchdowns. Willis was sacked an NCAA-record 51 times in 2021, so it’s possible he ran so much because he didn’t have a choice. However, as we saw in the playoffs last year, the idea of quarterbacks standing in the pocket and waiting for receivers to open up is fading. The key is mobility. Willis must decide whether or not he can combine his two strongest assets – his arm and legs – to achieve success. Scouts are particularly concerned about the Liberty standout’s ability to throw on the run. Things like footwork and accuracy have suffered when Willis is on the run. Those issues will undoubtedly need to be addressed as he progresses in his career.
The proud and the few
When Willis steps onto the field for his first NFL game, he will join a select group of players from his alma mater who have done so. Liberty University has only had 20 players make an NFL roster in the league’s 102-year history, with only eight of them being drafted. Cornerback Walt Aikens, who was selected 125th overall by the Miami Dolphins in 2014, was the most recent Flame to hear his name called on draught day before Willis. Former Steelers tight end Eric Green is the only other player in school history to be taken in the first round, with the black and gold taking him 21st overall in 1990.