As a high school senior in Atlanta, Malik Willis threw for 2,562 yards, rushed for 1,033 yards and scored 37 total touchdowns. He signed with Auburn and played behind Jarrett Stidham for two seasons with appearances in 11 games but transferred to Liberty College in 2020, where he became a starter for the next two years.
Granted, he traded SEC opponents for those on independent Liberty’s schedule – Troy, Middle Tennessee State, North Texas, Army, and the like. But Willis became one of the most electric dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation. He was the leading passer and rusher for the Liberty Flames the last two seasons and led them to a 10-1 record in 2020 as the No. 17 team in the AP rankings.
Weight: 219 pounds
40 time: 4.4 (estimated – did not run at combine)
He enters the NFL with both elite skills and areas of concern. Willis was a star at the NFL combine, displaying his arm strength and deep ball touch. Better yet, he impressed in interviews and left teams comfortable with his maturity, intelligence, and ambition. He did not run since he had nothing to prove. He has elite speed.
Table: Malik Willis NCAA stats (2018-2021)
- Tremendous dual-threat potential
- Dangerous running in the open field
- Elite RPO skills in the right offense
- Cannon arm but can drop deep rainbow passes into a basket
- Good vision on scrambles and roll-outs
- By all accounts a leader and high character individual that teammates will rally behind
- Raw tools are elite
- Speed to burn any defender when in the open
- Takes unnecessary sacks when pressed
- Footwork in the pocket needs work
- Accuracy issues when scrambling
- Can throw too hot to shallow receivers
- Tends to look for big play rather than settle for lesser gains or throwaways
- Worked against lesser competition and in simpler offense at Liberty
- Shorter stature may impact seeing over the line
He’s compared to recent running quarterbacks like Lamar Jackson and particularly Jalen Hurts, who led the NFL in quarterback rushing yards last year. There is no doubt that Willis can fit into the NFL and his run ability will be fantasy-relevant even as a rookie. He may be the first quarterback taken in the NFL draft.
There’s plenty to love about Willis. Elite rushing skills, cannon arm that can make any throw, highly competitive. While his rushing ability and deep-ball skills are already formidable, he’ll need to continue to work on his intermediate passing, where he needs to improve at reading defenses, adjust ball velocity on shorter passes, and be more accurate. He was only a two-year starter at a smaller college and needs continued development as a pocket passer. If he can master that intermediate game as he has deep throws and rushing, then Willis will be one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL.
One of the qualities that he brings, unlike so many other college quarterbacks, is leadership, maturity, intelligence and willingness to learn. He’s well-liked and respected by teammates.
His rushing ability will always make him fantasy-relevant. How quickly he can learn to be a better passer will limit or propel his fantasy value.