While the Heels are set for their third straight offseason with a battle for the starting quarterback position, but this time Chazz Surratt will not be a part of it. As announced by Lee Pace of GoHeels.com, the junior will make the move to linebacker for the 2019 season.
In his two seasons at quarterback with the Heels after a redshirt season, Surratt threw for 1,352 yards and posted an 8–6 TD-INT ratio on 57.5% completions, while also running for 279 yards and six touchdowns on 94 carries. Surratt alternated with Brandon Harris as the starter early in the season back in 2017, having some moments where he shined, but struggled with turnovers before both him and Harris were benched for Nathan Elliott. Surratt played in just one game in the 2018 season before being deemed out for the season with a wrist injury. That game, the Thursday night road game against Miami, was Surratt’s worst game of his career as he finished 4–10 for 10 yards and threw three interceptions.
Surratt was one of the state of North Carolina’s top high school football players of all-time, as he ranks 4th in state history in career passing yards (11,567), 2nd all-time in passing yards in a season (5,621 in 2014), 5th all-time in passing touchdowns (136) and 2nd all-time in total yardage in a career (16,593). His senior season, he was named a Parade All-American, but unfortunately broke his elbow in a second round playoff game, something that contributed to him being redshirted his freshman season.
Now, Surratt will help the Heels add depth to a position that is currently lacking depth at the moment. The Heels lost three-year starter Cole Holcomb to graduation in the offseason, while also seeing depth players like Allen Artis and Malik Robinson depart due to graduation and transfer respectively. The Heels added just one linebacker in the 2019 recruiting class in 4✮ OLB Eugene Asante, but 3✮ S Khadry Jackson does have the ability to move into the boxi if needed. Still, the Heels will not be that deep at the position, so adding Surratt to the group will help. Surratt showed that he has some athleticism and that is one of the key attributes that players need to succeed in Jay Bateman’s defensive scheme.
Surratt will officially begin taking reps this Sunday when the Heels open camp inside the new practice facility that opened late last season. We’ll see just what type of role Surratt will be able to carve out on this defense this season.