Ratliff-Williams Ends Season on Sideline

Anthony Ratliff-Williams, who’s scheduled to enroll at North Carolina in January, started his final high school game on Friday, but was eventually forced to watch the contest from the sidelines with the support of crutches.

During the second quarter of Matthews (N.C.) Butler’s second round NCHSAA 4AA playoff matchup against rival Charlotte (N.C.) Mallard Creek, Ratliff-Williams went down with a knee injury on a non-contact play.

“I just planted my knee and I went down,” the 6-foot, 191-pound quarterback said.

Ratliff-Williams has a doctor’s appointment scheduled for Monday where his knee injury will be better diagnosed. Ratliff-Williams isn’t expecting an MRI.

“They think it’s hyper extended,” Ratliff-Williams said. “There was a lot of swelling going on. They think the ligaments are fine.”

Although he’ll have a better idea on a recovery timeline on Monday, Ratliff-Williams doesn’t expect the injury to prevent him from participating in spring practice at UNC.

With the focal point of Butler’s offense watching from the sidelines, a tightly contested game quickly turned into a rout. Mallard Creek eventually won, 56-14, ending Butler’s championship hopes. The Bulldogs finished the season 10-3.

“The season went well – it wasn’t exactly how we planned,” Ratliff-Williams said. “We left it all on the field there and that’s just how it goes sometimes.”

On the season, Ratliff-Williams completed over 61-percent of his passes for 1,783 yards and 25 touchdowns, while rushing for 1,200 yards and 16 more touchdowns on 118 carries.

“My biggest area of improvement was probably my leadership,” Ratliff-Williams said. “When guys buckled, I was able to speak out to the team when it was needed. I lacked in that area last year – I wasn’t being the guy that would take charge. But I definitely stepped up in that aspect this year.

“Also, I worked on different types of throws and making adjustments to defenses when I needed to.”

Ratliff-Williams’s outspoken nature has seeped into recruiting. Jalen Dalton, who verbally committed to UNC earlier in the month, credits his relationship with Ratliff-Williams, as well as other UNC pledges, for one of the reasons he selected the Tar Heels.

“My pitch to him was the things we’re building at Carolina,” Ratliff-Williams said. “We’re basically trying to bring to Carolina something they’ve never had – a [national] championship. We’ve been discussing that for a while now – me, him, Juval [Mollette], [William] Sweet, and Tommy [Hatton]. We all want to go to Carolina and do something great.”

Dalton’s and Ratliff-Williams’s relationship took a major step the weekend of Oct. 4. That’s when the two were among a group of prospects who officially visited UNC.

“Me, him, Juval, and Andre [Smith] really bonded that night,” Ratliff-Williams said.

Including that weekend, Ratliff-Williams has attended each of UNC’s home games, with the exception of the Pittsburgh game. Thus, he’s been able to see the Tar Heels evolve throughout the season.

“They’re building up momentum going into next season,” Ratliff-Williams said. “We can tell they’re making strides – those sophomores and those juniors are making strides… You can see the progress, particularly with the offensive line – Marquise [Williams] is getting more time and guys like T.J. [Logan] are getting more space to run the ball. And the defense is playing well – holding Duke’s high-powered offense to 20 points.”

Ratliff-Williams’s transition to UNC’s offense should be smooth, since there are a lot of similarities to the offense he ran at Butler.

“I think the situation is very unique for me, because we’re a spread offense that runs a little bit of everything and we’re fast paced,” Ratliff-Williams said.

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