The NCAA has denied Liberty’s appeal that Auburn transfer Malik Willis be granted immediate eligibility. As a result, Willis will sit out the 2019 season and redshirt. He will now be a redshirt junior for the 2020 season.

Willis announced his intentions to transfer to Liberty in early July. A 3-star dual-threat prospect out of high school, Willis was the Auburn’s backup QB during his true freshman and sophomore seasons. The 6’1”, 195 pound native of Roswell High School and Atlanta, Georgia, Willis played in 15 games at Auburn, throwing for 69 yards and 1 touchdown while also rushing for 309 yards and 2 touchdowns. Willis saw playing time against the Flames in Auburn’s win over Liberty this past season, even rushing for a 16-yard score.

He entered the transfer portal in May after losing the competition to replace Jarrett Stidham as Auburn’s starting quarterback this season to redshirt freshman Joey Gatewood and true freshman Bo Nix. Nix was recently named Auburn’s starter. Willis was once thought to be Stidham’s heir apparent. He didn’t start playing quarterback until his senior season in high school, a season where he passed for 2,562 yards, rushed for 1,033 yards, and had 37 total touchdowns while leading Roswell to a Class 7A state runner-up finish.

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.

With Willis unable to play this season, senior Buckshot Calvert will have the reigns of the offense for his 4th and final season. He will be backed up by true freshman Johnathan Bennett.