Former Auburn quarterback Malik Willis will transfer to Liberty to play for new head coach Hugh Freeze, according to multiple reports Tuesday.
Willis, a junior, served as a backup to Jarrett Stidham the past two seasons, completing 11 of 14 passes for 69 yards and one touchdown. Considered a speedy dual-threat quarterback, Willis ran 28 times for 309 yards and two scores for the Tigers.
He decided to transfer after spring practice, when redshirt freshman Joey Gatewood and true freshman Bo Nix emerged as the frontrunners to replace Stidham, a fourth-round pick of the New England Patriots.
Liberty reportedly will apply for a transfer waiver from the NCAA, which would allow Willis to be eligible this season. If denied, he has to sit out the 2019 season — he has a redshirt year available — and would have two seasons to play for the Flames.
Willis, a three-star recruit in the 2017 class, joins a team that returns starting senior quarterback Stephen Buckshot Calvert. Liberty hired Freeze after last season to replace the retired Turner Gill. Freeze was forced out as head coach at Ole Miss in July 2017 for what then-athletic director Ross Bjork said was a “pattern of personal misconduct.”