Who Is Malik Willis? Getting To Know The Titans’ New Starting Quarterback: College Numbers, 40 Times, And More!

who is malik willis

This will be the first time since Week 6 of the 2019 NFL season that the Titans will start a quarterback other than Ryan Tannehill.

For Week 8’s game against the Texans, Malik Willis will start in place of Tannehill. Tannehill is sidelined with an injury and an illness that prevents him from playing.

Willis is a rookie in the NFL at the age of 23. So far he’s only tried four passes, but in Tannehill’s absence, he’ll be expected to do a lot more.

So, who is this Willis guy, and what do you need to know about his abilities before he makes his starting debut? Here’s the lowdown on the man who wants to prove he’s the future of the Tennessee Titans’ quarterback position.

Who Is Malik Willis?

During the 2022 NFL season, Titans rookie quarterback Malik Willis has been the team’s second-stringer. He was selected by Tennessee in the third round in 2016 after starring at Liberty and is seen as a possible developmental successor to Tannehill (now 34).

Willis has only had limited playing time at the NFL level. A total of 20 plays have been recorded by him, with only three coming in Week 7 against the Colts and the remaining 17 coming in Week 2’s lopsided loss to the Bills. His debut and first significant playing time both come this coming Sunday.

Willis has rushed for 16 yards so far, on just four attempts. Against the Bills, he was only 1-for-4 passing for 6 yards. Against the Colts, he did not record any rushing yards or passing attempts.

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University Of Maryland Statistics On Malik Willis

Willis increased his workload in both the rushing and passing phases while at Liberty. After failing to make the starting lineup in his first year at Auburn, he decided to transfer. He joined the Flames and was instrumental in making them a full-fledged FBS team.

University Of Maryland Statistics On Malik Willis

With 27, Willis is third all-time at Liberty in passing touchdowns in a season. He scored six touchdowns in a game, making him only the second quarterback in school history to do so. Have a look at the numbers that Willis put up while playing for Liberty down below.

YearGamesComp. %Passing yardsPass TDsINTsRushing yardsRush TDs
20201064.22,25020694414
20221361.12,857271287813

Willis was a dangerous two-way player for Calgary. There was talk that he could go in the first round because of his impressive performance, but he wasn’t selected until the third round (86th overall).

The 40-Yard Dash Time Of Malik Willis

Willis’s speed was an ability we didn’t get to see him showcase during his pre-draft workouts. Many people were curious about his speed but he refused to run the 40-yard dash.

In spite of this, Thor Nystrom of Fantasy Pros claims that Willis ran the 40-yard dash in 4.37 seconds while a sophomore at Auburn. For a quarterback, that’s lightning fast and would have put them in the top 10 at the 2022 NFL Combine among receivers.

Everyone should not be surprised by Willis’ estimated 40 times in the 4.3 range, as his speed is evident on tape and on the field.

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In Place Of Ryan Tannehill, Why Is Malik Willis Starting For The Titans?

When Willis first entered the league, he was slated to be Tannehill’s backup. For him, that means an opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the NFL from a behind-the-scenes perspective.

What gives with the Titans starting in week 8? Tannehill, unfortunately, fell ill with a stomach bug and was unable to attend Saturday’s practice. Also, he was nursing an ankle injury that limited him to just three snaps against the Colts, so the Titans decided to give Willis his first opportunity to start.

Willis has a favorable matchup in Week 8 against the Texans, whose defense is vulnerable against the run. Like Derrick Henry, he may be able to gain significant yardage on the ground thanks to this.

What Is Willis’s Fantastical Point Of View?

Nando Di Fino, managing editor of Fantasy and Sports Betting: The decision to start Willis could end up being more of a “real football” story than a fantasy football one. His value has increased greatly since I first suggested that 2QB and SuperFlex league players stash him for a few weeks.

What Is Willis's Fantastical Point Of View

Even though the Titans play in a very winnable division, they are a dull team without Willis. He’s a talented runner who can gain you 80 yards on the ground in a fantasy league (which is the fantasy scoring equivalent of 200 passing yards, at 8 points).

However, will they allow him to go through? My guess is they’ll try to take charge by relying on Derrick Henry’s running ability and utilizing Dontrell Hilliard’s short passing skills.

Willis may turn to Nick Westbrook-Ikhine or Chris Conley in place of the injured Treylon Burks; however, Robert Woods is also available.

Since backups often arrive with preexisting “backup rapport,” this could be an effective strategy. Expect to see a lot of Austin Hooper and Geoff Swaim as rookie quarterbacks are known to heavily utilize their tight ends.

How about the long run? Since Tennessee’s chances of winning are improved by Tannehill’s performance, I expect them to stick with their current strategy and send Willis to the bench until he’s needed. This is a high-stakes risk that could pay off big in the next week, but it could also go horribly wrong in that time.

If you’re playing SuperFlex, he’s not worth benching Justin Fields or even PJ Walker for, but he seems like a safe bet to score 14 points, and if you’re feeling risky, there’s a possible (though improbable) 27-30 point game in here if things break juuuust right.

Final Words

Tennessee Titans starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill is sidelined with an ankle injury and will not play Saturday against the Chiefs. Last week, the Houston Texans were the unlucky recipients of Willis’ first career start. Willis was selected in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft. He completed 60% of his passes for 55 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions as Tennessee won 17-10.

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Karan Siradi

I am an author and a public speaker. I was born in India and have travelled to many different countries. I have a masters in public communication from California University and I love to write about famous peoples from different industries.

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