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All-time UNC Football Top 25 Countdown: No. 17 Marquise Williams

The dual-threat quarterback rewrote the record books at Carolina.

Duke v North Carolina
Marquise Williams stiff-arms a defender during his record-setting performance against Duke.
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

This summer, Tar Heel Blog will profile the top 25 players in the history of the North Carolina football program. The rankings were determined by votes from readers and staff.

Marquise Williams led the 2015 North Carolina Tar Heels to their most successful season in nearly two decades. His outstanding 2015 campaign capped off a successful Carolina career in which he set over 20 program records.

Career at UNC

Marquise Williams Career Statistics

Year Completions Attempts Completion Percentage Passing Yards Yards per Passing Attempt Passing TDs Interceptions Passing Efficiency Rushing Attempts Rushing Yards Yards per Rushing Attempt Rushing TDs Receptions Receiving Yards Receiving Yards per Reception Receiving TDs
Year Completions Attempts Completion Percentage Passing Yards Yards per Passing Attempt Passing TDs Interceptions Passing Efficiency Rushing Attempts Rushing Yards Yards per Rushing Attempt Rushing TDs Receptions Receiving Yards Receiving Yards per Reception Receiving TDs
2012 10 17 58.8 127 7.5 1 0 141 29 186 6.4 3
2013 126 217 58.1 1698 7.8 15 6 141.1 111 536 4.8 6 2 52 26 1
2014 270 428 63.1 3068 7.2 21 9 135.3 193 788 4.1 13 2 17 8.5 1
2015 218 356 61.2 3072 8.6 24 10 150.3 158 948 6 13 1 37 37 1
Totals 624 1018 61.3 7965 7.8 61 25 141.8 491 2458 5 35 5 106 21.2 3

Career highlights, via the ACC Digital Network:

As a passer, Williams is fourth in career passing yards at UNC with 7,965. His 2015 and 2014 seasons rank fourth and fifth in all-time single season passing yards. Williams’s 61 career passing touchdowns rank third-most in program history, and his 24 passing TDs in 2015 are fourth in a single season. For passer rating, Williams is fourth-best in a Carolina career (141.84) and ranks sixth for a single season (150.2 in 2015).

Williams holds the single-game UNC record for passing yards with 494 against Duke in 2015. His 38 completions against Georgia Tech in 2014 is the most ever in a game for a Carolina quarterback. The UNC mark for passing touchdowns in a game is five, and it is shared by six Tar Heels on seven occasions. Williams tossed five TDs against Old Dominion in 2013.

A couple of the longest plays in Tar Heels history were thrown by Williams. His 91-yard touchdown pass to Mack Hollins against San Diego State in 2014 is the longest at Kenan Memorial Statium and third-longest in school history. Next on the list is a 89-yard touchdown pass from Williams to Ryan Switzer versus Duke in 2015.

Williams also holds the UNC bowl game record for pass completions with 25 against Rutgers in the 2014 Quick Lane Bowl. His three passing TDs in the 2015 Russell Athletic Bowl tied the program bowl record.

The threat of a Williams run made the quarterback dangerous to the opposition and added to his success. He is the top rushing quarterback in school history and one of only five ACC quarterbacks ever to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a career. He sits 12th in all-time rushing yards at UNC with 2,458. That mark sits between Giovani Bernard at 11 and Ronnie McGill at 13. Williams’s 35 career rushing TDs are third most at Carolina.

In 2015, Williams and running back Elijah Hood combined for 2,411 rushing yards, the most rushing yards gained by two players on the same team in a season in school history. During the course of his Carolina career, Williams had six 100-yard rushing games.

With his impressive passing and rushing numbers, it is no surprise that Williams sits atop the career total offense leaders at Carolina. His 10,423 yards is the total offense career leader at UNC. Williams held the single season total offense record for one season (4,020) before being eclipsed by Mitch Trubisky last season (4,064). Those 4,020 total offense yards are the most in a season by a senior at UNC.

Williams holds the single game total offense record at Carolina with 524 total yards against Duke in 2015. That mark in the sixth-highest in a single game in ACC history. Williams also holds the second and third spots on this list, with 469 total yards versus Old Dominion in 2013 and 463 against Georgia Tech in 2014. These three games were in his sophomore, junior, and senior seasons, setting the UNC class records for each year.

Williams holds the season and career records for most touchdowns responsible for, which includes touchdowns scored, passed for, and receiving. In 2015, he set the season record with 38 total TDs. Williams had 99 total touchdowns in his career. Only two other players in ACC history had more touchdowns in a career.

Honors and Awards

Despite his terrific numbers, the quarterbacks of opposing ACC teams that reached the college football playoffs received much of the awards in 2014 and 2015. Williams was named the quarterback of the All-ACC Second Team in both those seasons.

Top Games at UNC

There are lots of great highlights from Carolina’s 11-game winning streak in 2015. Of course, the massacre of Duke stands out as one of the top offensive performances in UNC history:

However, the most important game from that season was the conference opener against Georgia Tech. The last Tar Heel win versus the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta came in 1997, and the start was not very promising for the Heels. GT jumped out to a three touchdown lead, pushing the score to 21-0 with just 4:34 left in the half.

Then, in a matter of minutes, an Elijah Hood touchdown run and Marquise Williams punching in another with just four seconds in the half made it a one-score game at the break.

Carolina continued to trail until the fourth quarter when Williams caught a Quinshad Davis pass on a trick play for a 37-yard touchdown. A 27-yard rushing touchdown by Williams secured the Tar Heel victory.

Williams ended the day with 134 yard passing, 148 yards rushing, two rushing TDs, and a touchdown reception. Williams displayed his leadership and Carolina won in spite of many factors. Here are his tops plays from that game via the ACC Digital Network:

After UNC

Williams went undrafted in the NFL Draft, and was subsequently signed by the Minnesota Vikings. He was released soon after his initial signing and spent time with the Green Bay Packers. However, he was released during final cuts.

In May 2017, Williams was signed by the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League. He made the team after the preseason and is currently on their roster.

Last month, Williams lit up the Carolina social media circles with his picture with another UNC great Darian Durant:

Best of luck to Marquise as he begins his professional football career.

What are your favorite Marquise Williams moments? Let us know in the comments below.