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Malik Willis Doesn’t Care What You Think



Malik Willis

INDIANAPOLIS — Malik Willis doesn’t care what you think.

He doesn’t care what you think about the 2022 NFL Draft quarterback class. He doesn’t care who you think should ben taken first. In a shocking development compared to most current high-level athletes, he doesn’t even care what you think about him.

“Somebody always is going to think you’re trash,” Willis said on Wednesday at the 2022 NFL Combine. “That’s just the way the game goes. I’m just going to keep on going. I’m not playing for their approval. I’m playing for the only one who’s approval I respect, God. I don’t really care too much about what he and she say.”

A social media environment where fans have more and more access to their favorite players has also created an environment where fans have the ability to criticize their favorite players. That’s something that bothers a lot of athletes, but not Willis.

“I would say everybody is entitled to their opinion,” he said. “Informed, not informed. It is what it is.”

He’s not enamored with praise, either. Willis was nonplussed by fellow draft prospect Carson Strong gushing over his athleticism at the Senior Bowl, too.

“It doesn’t really matter to me,” he said. “That’s cool. That’s my dawg. But like I said, everyone is going to have an opinion of you. If you focus so hard on what everybody’s opinion is of you, you’re never going to be happy. I want to be happy, so I’m not going to think about it. You can say what you want to.”

That’s a pretty mature attitude for a 22-year-old. But Willis has been through a lot. When he transferred from Auburn to Liberty after two seasons of not seeing the field with the Tigers, he assumed his dreams of reaching the NFL were over.

“I thought I was just going to go and have fun and play my last two or three years,” Willis said. “But I’m here now, so I’m happy.”

He’s back on in the spotlight armed with a water-off-the-back-of-a-duck mindset that has suited him well through interviews at the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine, where sources told Steelers Now that teams came away impressed with Willis’ demeanor.

“It’s something that I had to learn and develop,” Willis said. “I’m not going to say I was always thinking that way.”

Willis is seen by most evaluators as a raw talent, with likely the highest pure upside of any quarterback in the class, but with some work to do to reach that ceiling.

This week in Indianapolis, he’s made strides in showing he has the maturity to do put in that work, maintain the proper mindset, and be able to be a leader on and off the field.

Malik Willis Met with Steelers at Combine, Won’t Run 40

Click for more coverage from Alan Saunders, Nick Farabaugh and Dan Angell, live from Indianapolis at the 2022 NFL Combine.

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