MOBILE – Liberty senior quarterback Malik Willis is a projected first-round draft pick in the upcoming NFL Draft this spring.
ESPN Draft Analyst Todd McShay has projected Willis to be No. 17 overall selection by the Denver Broncos. McShay projects five quarterbacks to be taken in the first round, and at No. 17, Willis would be the third quarterback selected in the draft. Willis would be the highest drafted non-Power 5 quarterback in the draft.
A dual-threat quarterback, Willis will join a list of NFL-caliber players to have played in the LendingTree Bowl. That list includes quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich, Bruce Gradkowski, Jeff Kelly and Omar Jacobs, and running backs LaDanian Tomlinson, Kareem Hunt and DeAngelo Williams, and receiver Antonio Brown.
Willis has already accepted an invitation to play in the 2022 Reese’s Senior Bowl, which will also be played here at Hancock Whitney Stadium, on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022.
Busy Day for Flames and Eagles:
Eastern Michigan and Liberty both participated in community service projects on Thursday. Representatives from each team traveled to different charitable organizations to take part in the event.
Eastern Michigan was given the opportunity to package food for those in need at Feeding the Gulf Coast, an organization that exists to serve individuals who face hunger along the central Gulf Coast. From box building, to meal packaging, the players in attendance were able to make an incredible impact. Liberty was able to serve as the Prodisee Pantry, a non-profit community ministry providing emergency food and disaster relief. Families who are having trouble making ends meet are given food assistance and additional information from a caring listener about other programs that may help to make their lives more stable. The Pantry provides food to single parents, homeless persons, retirees, families in transition, under-employed and unemployed households, grandparents raising grandchildren and others in need.
After their respective community service projects, both teams were able to tour the USS Alabama, a 1942 warship spanning better than 600 feet in length. A museum overflowing with historical machinery, educational opportunities, and other unique war-time history from the United States, team members enjoyed learning from war veterans, participating in simulator rides, and exploring deep within the walls of the ship and an accompanying submarine.
Both teams also hit the practice field one last time prior to Saturday’s matchup.
Following practice both teams toured the Flight Works Alabama facility with kids from the Boys and Girls Club. Spearheaded by Airbus and the State of Alabama, Flight Works Alabama is a comprehensive aerospace exhibition and education center, now open in Mobile. Flight Works Alabama’s 15,000 square foot facility houses over 40 hands-on exhibits, a classroom, workshop, fabrication room, drone aviary, and more. Though Flight Works Alabama will be the starting point for tours of the Airbus A320 Manufacturing Facility, the education center will provide the opportunity to tell an aviation story beyond Airbus.
Eastern Michigan and Liberty meet in the 23rd Lending Tree Bowl this Saturday, Dec. 18 at Hancock Whitney Stadium. The game will be televised by ESPN and kickoff is 4:45 p.m.