AUBURN — One of the biggest accomplishments of coach Hugh Freeze's tenure at Liberty was the acquisition and development of former Auburn football quarterback Malik Willis.
Willis, a former three-star quarterback, began his collegiate career on the Plains in 2017. He spent two years with the Tigers and only attempted 14 passes, but everything changed when he transferred to Liberty to play under Freeze. After two seasons with the Flames, Willis was drafted by the Tennessee Titans in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Auburn quarterback Robby Ashford, who has a similar skillset to Willis, is looking forward to working with Freeze, the Tigers' new coach.
"I've been praying for this," Ashford said Tuesday after Freeze's introductory news conference. "I was like, 'If I get coach Freeze, it's going to be deadly.' ... I've seen what he's done in the past. He's a winner. He's a proven winner. And then Malik (Willis), that's my guy, just to see what he did with him was just awesome.
"He's playing for the Tennessee Titans now, I talked to him yesterday. It's just like, wow, you see the development he had. ... I feel like it can only help me just become a better quarterback. I feel like me and coach Freeze are going to be a great dynamic duo. I'm excited."
Freeze was asked about Ashford and said he is 'intrigued' by the quarterback.
“When I watched Robby’s last game, I think I told (athletics director) John (Cohen) this, that he’s got me intrigued now," Freeze said. "I knew he could run around and obviously that’s very positive, but I saw him make some throws in that game. There was one particular in the right corner of the end zone. That was a really, really, really difficult pass, and it was beautifully done. I do think I have a gift to help develop quarterbacks. If you look at everywhere we’ve been, we’ve had pretty good success with that."
Richard Silva is the Auburn beat writer for the Montgomery Advertiser. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @rich_silva18.
This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: What Auburn football's Robby Ashford, Hugh Freeze said about each other