For the second consecutive day, Liberty quarterback Malik Willis has been named to a preseason award watch list. After being named to the 2021 Maxwell Award preseason watch list on Monday, which is awarded annually to the College Player of the Year. On Tuesday, Willis was named to the 2021 Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award watch list.
Willis is one of 30 FBS quarterbacks to be named to O’Brien Award watch list, presented annually to the nation’s best college quarterback. The O’Brien Award is the oldest and most prestigious national quarterback award.
Willis finished 2020 as the No. 1 rushing quarterback in the country, leading all FBS quarterbacks with 944 rushing yards and 14 rushing touchdowns. He set a school record in both statistical categories for a quarterback with those totals. Willis led the Flames in total offense, passing yards, and passing touchdowns in 2020 while finishing the year No. 7 in the country in rushing touchdowns and No. 16 in rushing yards.
16 semifinalists for the O’Brien Award will be named on Monday, Nov. 8 and three finalists will be announced just two weeks later on Monday, Nov. 22. The 2021 Dave O’Brien Award winner will be unveiled live on ESPN on Thursday, Dec. 9 during the Home Depot College Football Awards. Fan voting on social media will play a role in the semifinalist, finalist and winner voting totals when combined with the national selection committee’s ballots.