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Peyton Manning reaches out to struggling UNC QB Marquise Williams

Marquise Williams said he was encouraged to hear from Peyton Manning after a rough Week 1 outing. Getty Images/Grant Halverson

Peyton Manning is an involved Duke supporter because of his connection with Blue Devils coach David Cutcliffe. But one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game felt compelled to help out a player on the opposite end of Tobacco Road.

North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Marquise Williams

Friday morning, Williams checked his phone and saw a message from Manning, advising Williams to give him a call, the News & Observer reported. The two knew each other from Williams' involvement at the Manning Passing Academy.

“He gave me a text and told me to give him a call and I did. And he just said, 'Go out and play your game.' I felt like it was over [after the loss], man. It just felt like you just everything. But when I got that call I was like, man, I'm back at it. Let's move on,” Williams said.

Manning offered one of the very few statistics he isn't proud of, reminding Williams he still holds the NFL record for most interceptions from a rookie quarterback.

"It was great to hear from him,” Williams said, “and I felt on a new level. And I felt like, 'Hey, man, if it's coming from a Hall of Famer, then what else more could you ask for?”

Williams added he also heard from a number of other quarterbacks, ranging from former UNC signal-callers to current college peers such as Cody Kessler and Dak Prescott. Williams said more than 10 quarterbacks reached out to him to offer support in the days after the loss.