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Statistical rankings below courtesy of PFF and ESPN, and are based out of 39 qualified draft-eligible quarterbacks. FCS quarterbacks not included in rushing QBR (19 qualifiers).
1. Malik Willis | Liberty | 6’1/220
PFF grade rank: 4
PFF adjusted accuracy % rank: 31
PFF big-time throw % rank: 1
PFF turnover-worthy throw % rank: 26
BTT/TWT rank: 5
PFF clean pocket rank: 14
PFF under pressure rank: 5
ESPN rushing QBR rank: 1
2021 dropbacks: 455
In the spring of 2019 at Auburn, Malik Willis took on two more heralded recruits — Joey Gatewood and Bo Nix — in a three-man competition to replace Jarrett Stidham. Willis had been on campus for two years after signing as a three-star athlete, redshirting in 2017 and running for 309 yards in sparse duty in 2018 as Stidham’s backup (only attempting 11 passes).
Willis went 9-for-10 in that year’s spring game with some splash plays, but was listed QB3 on the depth chart behind Nix and Gatewood when he announced in May 2019 that he intended to transfer. This evaluation mistake ultimately cost HC Gus Malzahn his job. Malzahn is now the coach at UCF.
Willis applied for an immediate eligibility waiver after transferring to Liberty in 2019, but was denied by the NCAA (this was the last year the NCAA took such, *coughs*, liberties). After a redshirt year, Willis won the starting job in 2020. He was a revelation, leading the Flames to a 10-1 season with wins over Virginia Tech, Syracuse, and previously-undefeated top-10 Coastal Carolina in the bowl game.
Willis threw for 2,250 yards…