Ex-Auburn QB Malik Willis will transfer to Liberty, seek immediate eligibility waiver for 2019

Hugh Freeze got his second chance as a FBS head coach this offseason when he took over for Turner Gill at Liberty, and he now has a former SEC quarterback joining him with the Flames. CBS Sports can confirm a report from Benjamin Wolk that former Auburn quarterback Malik Willis will transfer to Liberty for his final two years and will also seek a waiver for immediate eligibility. 

Willis entered spring practice as the most experienced quarterback on Auburn's roster after Jarrett Stidham jumped early for the NFL. He threw for 45 yards and one touchdown in seven games as a true freshman in 2017, and added 221 yards and a touchdown on the ground. He followed it up with 24 passing yards, 88 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown as a true sophomore.

Redshirt freshman Joey Gatewood and true freshman Bo Nix emerged as the top two contenders to take the top spot on the depth chart after spring practice. Willis then entered the transfer portal in May after it became clear that, as long as Gatewood and Nix remain healthy, he would be relegated to third-team quarterback for the Tigers in 2019.

Willis was a three-star prospect out of Roswell High School outside of Atlanta, Georgia, in the class of 2017. He was listed as an athlete and earned playing time as a freshman under center due to his ability to create plays on the ground behind Stidham -- who is more of a traditional drop-back passer. 

If Willis gets a waiver to play immediately, he will battle with senior Stephen Calvert for the top spot on the depth chart. Calvert threw for 3,068 yards, 21 touchdowns and 18 interceptions last season. Even if Willis doesn't beat out Calvert, he will have the chance to make an impact on the ground in a system that uses quarterbacks as running threats. 

College Football Writer

Barrett Sallee has been a member of the sports media in various aspects since 2001. He is currently a college football writer for CBS Sports, analyst for CBS Sports HQ and host for the SiriusXM college... Full Bio

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