Without access to Larry Fedora and Keith Heckendorf, what’s the next best way for a quarterback to prepare for his North Carolina career? Work out with one of Fedora’s former protégés. Thus, Nathan Elliott has spent this offseason with Zac Robinson.
“I’ve seen a lot of improvement throughout this offseason,” Elliott said. “Mainly, I’ve been working on the throws that I need for college. I just have to get more velocity on my ball. I want to be able to throw that 18-yard comeback on the sideline and get it there before the corner could get to the ball. That’s what Zac has been helping me with and I’ve gotten a lot better with this offseason.”
Robinson quarterbacked Oklahoma State from 2006-2009 passing for 8,317 yards and 66 touchdowns during his career. Fedora was the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator and QB coach for the first half of Robinson’s career before becoming the head coach at Southern Miss.
Elliott, a 6-foot, 206-pound quarterback from Celina (Texas), throws three days a week under Robinson’s tutelage.
“He’s really good,” Elliott said. “He’s helped me a lot. I’ve improved a lot this offseason.”
From a lifting and conditioning standpoint, Elliott has stuck with his high school regimen.
“Our strength and conditioning program at Celina is pretty much exactly like what colleges do,” Elliott said. “It’s really tough.”
That program forces Elliott to wake up at 4:45 every morning to be at school for 5:30 lifting. After school, he runs with his former Celina teammates in the Texas heat.
Elliott went out for track, but after suffering a minor foot injury three meets in, he decided the risk wasn’t work it.
Since the end of the football season, Elliott has put on 15-20 pounds.
Elliott had mildly considered enrolling in January at UNC. But after gathering opinions from his father/head coach, former teammates who enrolled early, and current UNC players, he elected to remain in Celina.
“They said it’s beneficial, but it’s not really worth it, just because you’re missing out on one of the best times of your life,” Elliott said. “So I just took their advice.”
Despite the “delayed” enrollment – he’ll enroll in the second summer semester like most incoming freshmen – Elliott’s aspirations remain the same. He’s gunning for the third string QB spot behind Mitch Trubisky and Marquise Williams.
“Coach Heck and I were talking about it and I told him as long as I’m there every game, I really don’t care [what jersey number I wear],” Elliott said. “I’m going to be realistic about it – I know that Marquise and Mitch are competing for the starting job and they have more experience. I’m going to come in there and compete like I’m trying to take the [starting] job, but a realistic goal for me is to be the No. 3 guy and travel to every game.”
Being the third string quarterback still means Elliott could red-shirt this season, a notion he embraces.
“[Heckendorf and I] have talked about it and I wouldn’t mind red-shirting just to get that year to get used to college and get bigger, faster, stronger, and just get used to the speed of the game,” Elliott said. “The competitive side of me would love to be the starting quarterback, but being realistic red-shirting and being the No. 3 guy is an obtainable goal.”
Elliott will arrive on campus permanently on June 15. That day, he’ll move into a suite he’ll share with Jake Bargas, Aaron Crawford, and Nick Polino.
“We had all hung out during our official visits,” Elliott said. “I think we’re all pretty laidback guys.”
Elliott plans to major in either sports management or business at UNC.
“I’m definitely excited,” Elliott said. “And I’m a little bit nervous, because I’m going to be 17 hours away from home. It’s a completely different state, but people say that North Carolina and Texas are very similar in the way people are and how they treat people – they’re nice people. I love Texas, but I can’t wait to get out there.”
Signee Update: Nathan Elliott
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