Hokies dual-threat quarterback commit reneges on verbal during Belk Bowl, commits to Auburn.
Virginia Tech captured a 35-24 victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks on Thursday evening in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, but lost a commitment for their 2017 class in the process.
In the middle of the first half, three-star quarterback recruit Malik Willis, a 6’1″, 185 lbs. prospect out of Roswell, Georgia, reneged on his verbal commitment to the Hokies, a pledge which he made over the summer.
This announcement came hours after Willis announced that he had received an offer from Gus Malzahn and the Auburn Tigers. On Friday evening, Willis announced that he had made a decision to commit to Auburn, less than 24 hours after spurning Virginia Tech.
When Willis spoke to Rivals.com about why he made the decision to head to Auburn, he cited his desire to play quarterback at the next level.
"“Everything at Auburn was more in line with what I was looking for. I had to do what’s right for me and my family and this is closer for them and it gives me a chance to play a position that I love. It was important that I got a shot at least because I feel like I can play quarterback at the next level.”"
Virginia Tech had expressed to Willis throughout his recruitment that they saw him as a potential defensive back in Blacksburg. Willis is classified by most recruiting outlets as an athlete, with some schools questioning whether or not he has the size and tools to play quarterback in the FBS. Auburn, with their spread option run offense under Malzahn, felt differently, ultimately swaying Willis’ verbal commitment from the Hokies.
"I feel like their run-pass option offense is the same as Roswell’s and we run a lot of the same plays. That’s what Coach Lashlee likes about my game, he felt my talents fit what they needed.”"
A dual-threat quarterback that Auburn needed and the opportunity for Willis to continue playing the position that he loves was ultimately too good of a union to pass up. Only time will tell whether or not Willis made the right decision for him by heading to Auburn.