Former Ohio football player Marcellis Williamson died Wednesday, the team confirmed. He was 23 years old.
“We can confirm that former Ohio defensive tackle Marcellis Williamson, a native of East Cleveland, Ohio, passed away late this afternoon,” said Jason Corriher, assistant Athletics director for media relations.
Friends of Williamson said he suffered a heart attack though no official cause of death has been released.
An attendant at Euclid Hospital in Euclid, Ohio, confirmed at 10:45 p.m. Wednesday that Williamson was a patient earlier in the day.
Williamson was the son of Brian and Alaias Perkins and a fifth-year senior who played in all 13 games at nose tackle last season. He graduated after Fall Quarter with a degree in recreation management, according to Corriher’s release.
Adetunji Adedipe befriended Williamson almost immediately upon walking on to the football team. When Adedipe left the team and eventually walked on to the men’s basketball team, he said Williamson remained a good friend.
“Whenever I was feeling a little helpless, he’d always tell me that things would look up,” Adedipe said. “Even when I made the basketball team, we were always close. He was always there.”
A two-year starter for the Bobcats, the 6-foot-1, 327-pound Williamson finished last season with 36 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and 0.5 sacks.
“He was a brother. He wasn’t just a teammate,” current Ohio quarterback Phil Bates said. “His family came before anything else he was doing. He’s family to me for the rest of my life.”
Calls were placed to Ohio head coach Frank Solich, but he could not be reached for comment.
At 2:54 p.m. Tuesday, Williamson posted for what would be the final time on his Facebook page. He wrote: “I am blessed to have waken up this morning!! Enjoy today because tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.”
His Facebook friends began posting on his page as news of his death surfaced.
Williamson's teammates began posting on Twitter at approximately 10 p.m. about his death.
Noah Keller, team captain and starting linebacker: Mark Parson, former defensive back: ? ?
Ohio Equipment Managers: ??