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Dunham quarterback Mike Williams rolls out of the pocket while chased by Episcopal defender Mac Bridges on Friday night at Dunham.

Advocate staff photo by JOHN OUBRE

The Dunham School’s Mike Williams doesn’t want to think about it quite yet. But he knows that time is coming soon.

At 6-foot-2 and 260 pounds, the quarterback's football future will be elsewhere, meaning he will have to relinquish the keys to the car he has driven for the past decade.

Not literally, of course. But it will be quite a change: Williams has enjoyed playing quarterback since first taking snaps for a local team called the Gators at the age of 7.

“When I was 13, I was too big,” he said. “We had a weight limit, and I had to play defensive end. The next year, I was back at quarterback and have played it ever since.”

When Redemptorist High closed, Williams transferred to Dunham. Three years later, he has one major objective in his final year as a quarterback: Get the Tigers to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for the first time since 2004.

“I’m excited about the season,” he said. “I haven’t thought about (not playing quarterback again) yet. I guess that time will come after the season.”

Last summer, the idea of not being a quarterback beyond the high school level entered Williams’ mind for the first time. Williams heeded the advice of former LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron to attend the Tigers' summer camp and work out at tight end.

The possibilities on the college level also extend to defense — at defensive end or outside linebacker, where schools such as LSU, Alabama and Ole Miss are recruiting Williams. He played defensive end as a junior and will switch to linebacker this season.

“He ended up playing about 50 percent of the snaps at defensive end, which was twice as much as the year before,” Dunham coach Neil Weiner said. “He’s still really raw as a defensive player.”

LSU's Ed Orgeron and Nick Saban of Alabama caused quite a stir with their presence on Dunham’s campus last spring. It's not common for Dunham to host such Power Five school representatives, but that's just another example of Williams’ next-level ability.

“It’s been fun for our players and the kids at the school to see that,” Weiner said. “Nearly every SEC school, Notre Dame, Stanford, Florida State and Oklahoma came by in the spring.”

What college recruiters have witnessed in Williams is an agile quarterback capable of running over defenders or, with one flick of his right wrist, delivering an accurate pass 60 yards downfield.

During his two years at Dunham, Williams has combined for 4,365 total yards and 61 touchdowns, leading the Tigers to a 9-1 regular-season mark a year ago. But a disappointing, last-minute, 41-40 upset loss to Newman in the opening round of the Division III select playoffs has provided plenty of motivation.

“I think about it pretty much every day in the weight room,” Williams said. “I’m trying not to let games get to a one-point decision anymore. We’re going to try and put games away earlier.”

Williams, who averaged a double-double for Dunham’s state runner-up basketball team, improved on his sophomore season by passing for 1,835 yards with 24 touchdowns and rushing for 636 yards and 12 more scores.

He guided the Tigers to just over 45 points per game, but he understands that after this season his football future likely won't include the ball in his hands.

“I’ve never been fortunate to coach anybody that was quite his size and stature that played a skill position, especially at quarterback,” Weiner said. “You wonder how he does some of the things he does. We’ve been fortunate getting to watch him make plays.”