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Chris Low, ESPN Senior Staff Writer 10d

Ex-Auburn QB Willis transferring to Liberty

College Football, Liberty Flames, Auburn Tigers

Former Auburn quarterback Malik Willis will continue his college football career at Liberty, where he will play for first-year coach Hugh Freeze.

Willis entered his name into the transfer portal last month and has two years of eligibility remaining. He will seek a waiver from the NCAA to be eligible to play right away without having to sit out the 2019 season and said he's already been in contact with an attorney.

"I love Coach Freeze, love his offense and feel like this is the best place for me to showcase my ability to throw the football," said Willis, who backed up Jarrett Stidham the last two seasons at Auburn and attempted just 11 passes.

"Everywhere Coach Freeze has been, his teams have thrown for a lot of yards and put up big numbers. Plus, when you look at all of the Power 5 schools on Liberty's schedule the next few years, that's the caliber of talent I want to play against. I wanted to put myself in the best position I could, and Liberty gives me the chance to do that."

The 6-foot-1, 193-pound Willis was used in more of a specialty role at Auburn while backing up Stidham and rushed for 309 yards and two touchdowns. Willis made the decision to transfer after losing out to Joey Gatewood and Bo Nix for the Auburn starting quarterback job this coming season.

"I never really got a chance to throw the ball at Auburn, and that's not a knock on Coach [Gus] Malzahn or Auburn. They were great," Willis said. "I just never got a chance in games to show that I could throw it. It was all in practice, and I look forward to showing what I can do in Coach Freeze's offense."

Willis originally committed to Virginia Tech out of high school before switching to Auburn. He was ranked by ESPN as the 59th-best athlete nationally in the 2017 signing class.

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