Williams Heading Straight to UNC

While the rest of North Carolina's early enrollees have been out of school since mid-December, Marquise Williams' final day at Charlotte (N.C.) Mallard Creek isn't until Friday – less than 24 hours before he arrives at UNC.

"That's the part I like, though – going straight to the real world and getting after it," Williams said. "That's what I really need. I don't need a break."

Williams, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound quarterback, will take his final exam on Friday.

"Friday is the last day I'll see Mallard Creek [as a high school student]," Williams said. "A lot of [early enrollees] got to take their exams before the Shrine Bowl. But I didn't get a chance to take my exams until after the Shrine Bowl."

Despite the tardiness of his exam schedule, Williams says everything will be in order for his arrival on UNC's campus at 9 a.m. on Saturday.

"I'll be unpacking and getting familiar with the area and see what's going on for the next five years," Williams said.

Fellow early enrollees Travis Riley, T.J. Thorpe, and Landon Turner will be Williams' roommates.

"It's going to be great," Williams said. "I roomed with T.J. and Travis at the Shrine Bowl and hung out with them all night. And Landon seems like he's going to be a nice cool guy. It's going to be fun."

Williams plans on majoring in communications at UNC.

"[Communications] is something I've always wanted to do," Williams said. "I always wanted to do something with sports broadcasting."

Besides studying for finals, Williams has been working out in preparation for UNC's quarterback competition since participating in the Shrine Bowl. The frontrunner for the position, which was vacated by the graduation of four-year starter T.J. Yates, is red-shirt sophomore Bryn Renner.

"I'm going to go in and compete," Williams said. "It's going to be hard, because Renner is a good quarterback. I'm just going to go in and learn what I can and compete."

Even after announcing his verbal commitment to UNC in mid-July, Williams' recruitment was full of plenty of drama.

"After I committed to Carolina, I stayed committed," Williams said. "But I just thought ‘Hey, if we go on probation, I need to have something to fall back on.' I told [the UNC coaches] that I would be visiting this school and that school."

Williams ended up taking official visits to Michigan, NC State, and Virginia Tech.

Despite never actually doing it, Williams says he came close to de-committing.

"I never knew what was going to happen," Williams said. "Nobody was telling me anything. The only thing they were saying was ‘Just wait and see.' But I couldn't wait and see, because I'm an early enrollee so I had to find out what was going to happen with my boys."

During the in-home visit with Butch Davis in early December, Williams was reassured and solidified his commitment.

"[Davis] answered all my questions," Williams said. "I felt like [UNC] is the place I love. He kept it real and told me to put my trust in him and I put my trust in him."

Once Williams made his intentions of sticking with UNC known, most schools, including the primary threat Virginia Tech, left him alone. However, several newcomers, including Auburn and Miami, attempted to sway him away in the last few weeks.

Counteracting outside schools' advances was UNC's constant communication and strong relationships with the staff, including John Shoop.

"Coach Shoop is crazy," Williams said. "Like I said before, he's going to be my father [at college]. He calls me all the time and we talk about everything. I love Coach Shoop. I know he's going to keep it real."

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