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NFL Draft

TDN100: Pounding The Table For UCF WR Marlon Williams

  • The Draft Network
  • October 28, 2020
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The UCF Knights have the most prolific passing offense in college football and it’s not particularly close. Averaging 435.6 yards per game through the air, the next closest team is Alabama, who is producing 397.8 passing yards per game. In terms of total offense, UCF is averaging 646.8 yards per game and is the only team in the nation averaging more than 600. Quarterback Dillon Gabriel is lighting up the scoreboard and dicing up every secondary he’s faced so far in 2020.

Entering the season, UCF had to replace the production of 2019 leading receiver Gabriel Davis, who logged 72 receptions for 1,241 yards with 12 touchdowns. Those 1,241 yards were the most ever in a single season for a UCF receiver, an impressive feat considering terrific receivers like Doug Gabriel, Brandon Marshall, and Mike Sims-Walker have come through the program. 

Senior wide receiver Marlon Williams is set to shatter Davis’ record despite it only being a nine-game season for UCF in 2020. 

Through five games this season, Williams has logged a nation-leading 54 receptions for 753 yards and six touchdowns. Williams is on pace to finish the nine-game season with 97 catches for 1,355 yards, both of which would be school records.

The production speaks for itself, but it’s even more impressive considering the role Williams has unexpectedly been tasked with. Williams was expected to combine with fellow senior receiver Tre Nixon to absorb the production left behind by Davis (now a member of the Buffalo Bills). Nixon was injured in the first half of the season opener against Georgia Tech and has yet to return to the lineup. Playing the leading role in the UCF offense, Williams has averaged more than 15 targets per game so far in 2020. 

The NFL is a passing league. Rule changes have certainly tilted the advantage to the offense's favor and it’s created exciting passing output. Teams have taken full advantage and there is incredible diversity in the types of weapons that exist throughout the league. Prolific pass-catchers come in a variety of skill sets, sizes, and athletic profiles. With that said, it’s the most well-rounded and complete set of skills that bring the most value and Williams brings a host of quality traits to the table that has led to this production and finds him rocketing up draft boards. 

Listed at 6-foot and 215 pounds, Williams is a stocky receiver that resembles the build of Tennessee Titans receiver A.J. Brown. Stylistically, Brown and Williams also resemble each other. 

Williams is a physical receiver that knows how to deal with grabby corners, play through contact, and win after the catch. Despite the high volume of targets, Williams is averaging six yards after the catch per reception in 2020 and was over eight in 2019. Williams’ 368 total yards after the catch are the most in college football. 

Williams is also a terrific vertical receiver with his smooth acceleration and ability to find space down the field. He has terrific hands and ball skills, showcasing a natural ability to adjust to and secure the football. His 54-yard touchdown reception against Tulane is a wonderful example of all of his top traits showing up in a single play.

Williams also has terrific body control and awareness to complement his outstanding ball skills. In another touchdown catch against Tulane, those traits were on full display.

Williams plays in a pass-heavy offense that features plenty of chances for him to produce. With that said, he isn’t just feasting on manufactured touches. Williams is showcasing an NFL skill set as he continues assembling his record-setting season for UCF. 

Williams is a threat at all levels of the field with the ability to line up as a big slot or out wide. His all-around skill set will help diversify an NFL passing offense and he’s truly one of the biggest risers so far this season and a player that deserves more buzz. That’s why I’m pounding the table for him.

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