Over the past couple of months, 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 and his odds continue to increase since the conclusion of the 2021 NFL Draft.
On Saturday, BetOnline released its most recent odds for the No. 1 overall selection in the 2022 draft. Not surprisingly, almost all of the top contenders are quarterbacks with Willis checking in with the fourth best odds at +750. He only trails Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler (+225), North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell (+250), and Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux (+350).
Behind Willis in the updated odds are USC quarterback Kedon Slovis (+1400), Texas Tech quarterback Tyler Shough (+1400), Georgia quarterback JT Daniels (+1800), LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. (+3300), Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder (+3300), and Ohio State cornerback Sevyn Banks (+3300).
From the looks of this list, odds are next year’s No. 1 overall pick will follow a familiar trend. In each of the last four years, a quarterback has been selected first overall.
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.