“I think he’s got a huge upside,” Nix said. “I think he can play on Sundays. I was telling a coach the beginning of the week that Calvin set the bar. He’s way up there, but from coaching Calvin and being around those guys at Miami that were incredible and still playing in the league today, ability-wise Malik falls somewhere in between those guys.
“He has the speed that some of those guys at Miami had, but he’s got the size closer to Calvin’s size. He’s got a little bit of a combination of both, a guy that can absolutely take the top off a defense, but he has the size to match up and doing anything you want anywhere.”
A 6-3, 180-pounder with 4.4 speed in the 40-yard dash, Talley was a basketball player for much of his career at Scottsboro before deciding to give football a shot following last spring. Doing everything Nix asked of him to earn a shot at playing time, Talley showed his coaches and teammates he was serious about football and it showed on the field.
“We were going to sit him the first three games,” Nix said because he missed spring practice. “But he basically did everything asked of him and never missed anything. We decided to go ahead and let him play from day one. When we got him in June he was just a very raw athlete, but extremely talented with incredible reach, incredible range and incredible speed. He just got better and better as the season went.
“I’m looking forward to having him starting now all the way through,” Nix added. “I’m looking forward to having him and watching how much better he gets from being in the offseason program with us and training and learning how to run routes. There is only so much you can do in the limited amount of time we had. We were trying to just teach him the offense as much as we were fundamentals.”
That showed up on the field as Talley put up some huge numbers in his first season on the field. As a wide receiver he had 27 catches for 474 yards and nine touchdowns. He also had 17 kickoff returns 405 yards and a touchdown as well.
Already hearing from Louisville, Missouri, Southern Miss, Auburn, Alabama and several smaller schools, Talley is a player that should see his stock rise dramatically after the camp season Nix predicts.
“I told one of the coaches the other day that the funny thing is he’s ranged from Division II all the way to Auburn and Alabama giving interest,” Nix said. “People just don’t know right now. They see all the numbers and they’re like ‘wow’. They haven’t had a chance to really put their hands on him and see him yet.”