Malik Willis (#7, 6’1″, 225) is a quarterback from Liberty University and a prospect in the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft. Willis is originally from Atlanta, GA, and led his high school to the state title game, earning Offensive Player of the Year and 1st-team all-state as a senior. He earned a three-star distinction as a recruit with offers from mostly Group of Five and FCS programs, and a few ACC programs sprinkled in.
He initially committed to Virginia Tech, but he flipped to Auburn when they offered him a scholarship. Willis played in 15 games during his first two years with the Tigers in 2017 and 2018. He was primarily used as a gadget player and in mop-up duty. In 2018, he lost the quarterback competition to Bo Nix and transferred after the season.
After transferring to Liberty, Willis redshirted in 2019 as he sat out due to transfer rules. In 2020, he started all but one game, leading Liberty to a 10-1 record, with their only loss coming on the road at NC State 15-14.
He led all FBS quarterbacks in rushing yards (944) and rushing TDs (14). In 2021, the team regressed and finished 8-5, but they capped off their season with a dominating performance in their bowl game. As a redshirt senior, Willis had the opportunity to play for another season due to the COVID year. Instead, he elected to declare for the 2022 NFL Draft and earned an invite to the Senior Bowl.
Career Stats: 38 GP, 23 GS, 618 attempts, 388 completions (62.8%, 71.7 Adjusted), 5176 passing yards, 48 TDs, 18 INTs, 103.4 NFL passer rating; 366 rushing attempts, 2131 rushing yards (5.8 YPC), 29 rushing TDs, 20 fumbles.
2021 Stats: 13 GP, 13 GS, 339 attempts, 208 completions (61.4%, 70.1 Adjusted), 2858 yards, 27 TDs, 12 INTs, 100.1 NFL passer rating; 197 rushing attempts, 878 yards (4.5 YPC), 13 TDs, 3 fumbles.
2021 PFF Grades (20% snap minimum): 91.8 Offense (t-4th), 78.4 Passing (49th), 94.5 Rushing (1st).
Malik Willis Scouting Report
- Compact, thick build with defined muscle on entire body. Can withstand hits in the pocket and when running the ball.
- Elite arm strength and talent, both velocity and distance. Can push the ball 50+ yards with ease and fit throws into tight windows.
- Solid accuracy, especially when in rhythm with clean pocket and sound mechanics. Arm strength allows him to make special throws that can hit receivers perfectly.
- Good pocket awareness and management, using athletic ability to buy time in the pocket and scramble out when necessary.
- When he’s hot, has special play-making ability; can make unique, off-platform throws out of structure.
- Good athletic ability allows him to be a weapon in the running game. Frequently makes defenders miss in the pocket and in the open field. Has speed and explosiveness to create big gains as a runner.
- Good competitive toughness, using physicality and strength to grind out extra yards in the run game; plays through injuries and comes back after tough hits.
- Below average processing/field vision. Frequently waits for targets to come open before throwing the ball, allowing DBs to recover and make plays on the ball. Needs to improve speed progressing through reads and trigger to throw the ball.
- Inconsistent decision-making, frequently scrambling backward to buy time and taking big losses on sacks. Ignores check-downs sometimes and tries to fit in risky throws or scramble. Cut down on TWPs in 2021 but still struggles with interceptions.
- Accuracy lacks consistency: frequently misses high on quick slants; intermediate throws lack proper timing, limiting YAC and risking receiver’s health.
- Subpar level of competition and yet still plays a little slow (mentally); relies on his athleticism too much, which could get him into trouble at next level. Does not have elite athletic/running ability; NFL defenders will not flounder like G5 defenders.
- Very inconsistent as a passer: games are extremely feast or famine, turnovers seemingly compounding themselves.
Malik Willis possesses remarkable and unique physical talents. He can be a dynamic playmaker, using his elite arm talent and excellent running ability. However, Willis struggles to make accurate throws consistently. He also struggles to read the field, anticipate receivers coming open, and make timely throws.
Furthermore, his play was relatively inconsistent against a lower level of competition; for the most part, when he played superior opponents, he struggled. In short, Willis is not ready to be an NFL starter in his rookie season. But given his physical gifts, in the right situation and with a year of development, he could become a high-level, perennial-Pro Bowl starting quarterback.
Grade: 7.5 / 10
Comparison: Jalen Hurts (2020 R2 #58, Philadelphia Eagles)