LAS VEGAS, Nev. — The Tennessee Titans drafted Liberty quarterback Malik Willis in the 3rd round, 22nd pick of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Willis transferred from Auburn to Liberty after the 2018 season when Auburn coaches decided he would not be the starter. The NCAA denied his waiver request to play immediately, so he redshirted with the Flames in 2019. He took his team to new heights in 2020, leading Liberty to a 9-1 record in his 10 starts with his arm (170-of-265, 64.2%, 2,250, 20 TDs, six INTs) and his legs, as he led all FBS quarterbacks with 944 rushing yards (141 carries, 6.7 yards per carry) and tied for seventh among all FBS players with 14 rushing touchdowns.
He tested positive for COVID-19 in December but did not miss any games as the Flames’ regular-season game against Coastal Carolina was canceled (they beat Coastal in the Mortgage Cure Bowl). They took a step back in 2021 (going 8-5) though Willis made plays through the air (207-of-339, 61.1%, 2,857 yards, 27 TDs, 12 INTs) and led the squad in rushing (197-878-4.5, 13 TDs). He was named the LendingTree Bowl MVP after leading Liberty to a win over Eastern Michigan (13-of-24, 231 yards, 3 TDs; 8-58, 2 TDs rushing).
Willis played two seasons for the Tigers, playing in seven games in 2017 (6-of-7, 45 yards, one TD; 16-221-13.8, one TD rushing) and nine contests the following year (5-of-7, 24 yards passing; 12-88-7.3, one TD rushing). Willis was the Georgia Class 7A Offensive Player of the Year at Roswell High School, leading his team to the state title game his senior year. His uncle, James Anderson, played LB at Virginia Tech and for 10 seasons in the NFL.