Before the 2017 football season, there was much debate about who would be North Carolina’s starting quarterback.
The competition to replace Mitch Trubisky, last year’s starter and the No. 2 pick in April’s NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears, came down to Brandon Harris, a transfer from LSU, and Chazz Surratt, the former national high school football player of the year from East Lincoln High in Denver, N.C.
Surratt told the Observer before the season opener that he thought he should be the starter, but Harris was the man who got the nod against California two weeks ago.
Both got playing time, and Surratt clearly outplayed Harris in a loss. Harris went 7-of-16 for 60 yards and two interceptions. Surratt went 18-of-28 for 160 yards and a touchdown. Surratt also rushed 16 times for 66 yards and another score.
That performance seemingly cemented Surratt, a redshirt freshman, as UNC’s quarterback. He started against Louisville, going 12-of-14 for 168 yards and two touchdowns in the first half.
But Surratt didn’t play in the second half – instead, he was on an exercise bike on the sideline, apparently injured.
“The very first time I ran it, I just got hit in the lower back,” Surratt told reporters after the game, “and the rest of it got worse as the game went on.”
Harris replaced him for the remainder of UNC’s 47-35 loss to Louisville, this time performing well enough (17-of-23, 216 yards, one touchdown) to spark questions again about who should be the team’s starter.
For his part, Surratt was named ACC Rookie of the Week this week. But if he isn’t fully healthy, which is a possibility, then Harris may get the call Saturday at Old Dominion.