Over the past couple of weeks, Liberty quarterback Malik Willis has received a lot of pub in the national media as being one of the top prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft. Now, Vegas has taken notice as the Liberty quarterback is listed as one of the favorites to be taken No. 1 overall in next year’s draft.
Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler is favored by the PointsBet sportsbook to hear his name called first in 2022, at +225 odds. Next on the list is North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell (+350), Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux (+400), LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. (+800), USC quarterback Kedon Slovis (+1000), Willis (+1500), Georgia quarterback JT Daniels (+1800), Florida quarterback Emory Jones (+2000), Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels (+2000), and Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton (+2500).
At BetMGM, Thibodeaux is the favorite at +250, followed by Rattler (+300), Howell (+400), Slovis (+800), Stinley (+1100) Willis (+1400), Daniels (+1400), Hamilton (+2000), Miami tackle Zion Nelson (+2500), and Alabama tackle Evan Neal (+2500).
Willis led Liberty to a 10-1 record in the shortened 2020 season, ending the year with a dramatic bowl victory over Coastal Carolina. Willis had 20 passing touchdowns and 13 rushing touchdowns this year as he now holds the Liberty school records for touchdowns in a season (33) and rushing yards in a season by a quarterback (855). He finished with 2,260 passing yards while completing 64.2% of his passes with a passer rating of 156.2.
He also helped lead Liberty to a pair of wins over ACC foes in Syracuse and in-state opponent Virginia Tech. The two wins made Liberty the first non-Power 5 team to post a pair of wins over ACC schools in the same season since Houston in 2015. Liberty finished the 2020 campaign ranked No. 17 in the Associated Press poll and No. 18 in the Amway Coaches Poll, the highest ever ranking for the Flames as an FBS program.
Liberty is scheduled to begin the 2021 season on Saturday, Sept. 4 at Williams Stadium in Lynchburg, Virginia. The Flames have won 11 straight games inside the friendly confines of Williams Stadium on the Mountain.