The UNC Football program suspended 13 players Monday for selling team shoes, including quarterback Chazz Surratt, which makes Nathan Elliott the starter
A quarterback competition was brewing in training camp for the North Carolina Tar Heels until suddenly it wasn’t. Nathan Elliott’s biggest competitor in Chazz Surratt will miss the first four games of the season due to a suspension the University announced on Monday.
The suspension comes just weeks after UNC announced it had self-reported secondary violations to the NCAA for players selling team-issued Air Jordan 3’s.
The news prompted head coach Larry Fedora to speak to the media regarding the team’s plans at signal caller.
With that statement, junior Nathan Elliott will retain the job he took over towards the end of last season. Playing well during Surratt’s suspension could all but guarantee Elliott’s starting role for the entirety of the year.
This move would give the Tar Heels the consistency at signal caller they lacked last season. It is also a boon to the Texas native’s already rising stock.
A strong finish to last season has many fans excited for the future. Elliott started receiving heavy reps during UNC’s late October loss to Miami. For that game and UNC’s final three bouts he recorded 926 passing yards, ten touchdowns, and five interceptions.
Elliott also tacked on 144 rushing yards and went 2-2 in that late-season stretch. As a dual threat, he will look to build on last season’s body of work and give UNC another much-needed weapon on offense.
In response to the scandal, Elliott told WRAL-TV:
“I have been told (that I can’t sell my gear) multiple times”
Now the starter by default, Elliott will try to be a bright spot for a football program marred by violations, injuries, and inconsistency the last few seasons.
Expecting him to be the next Mitch Trubisky will only be a set up for disappointment. However, the pressure will be on him to perform at a higher level with a more talented supporting cast this season.
Losing a dynamic player like Surratt is never ideal, but it could a blessing in disguise for a UNC team notorious for not settling on a quarterback.