Although his left elbow is 90-percent healthy, North Carolina signee Chazz Surratt, a southpaw quarterback, has been throwing for a few months now.
“I’ve been throwing fade balls and 15-20 yards – nothing where I’m really driving the football down the field,” Surratt said. “It feels good for the most part; it’s just my forearm sometimes gets sore after I throw. But pretty much after that I’m good.”
Surratt attributes the forearm soreness to atrophy and the overcompensating of the muscles.
“It’s about building back those muscles,” Surratt said.
In November, Surratt dislocated his elbow during Denver (N.C.) East Lincoln’s second round playoff game. Despite the injury, it’s not a forgone conclusion he’ll red-shirt this coming season.
“It just depends on how our season goes,” Surratt said. “We could have injuries – you never know. [The UNC coaches] aren't really sure. They just want me to come in and learn the system as fast as I can and try to come in there and compete.”
Following spring practice, Larry Fedora officially designated Mitch Trubisky as his starting quarterback. After watching Trubisky during the spring game, Surratt is thrilled with the decision for more reasons than one.
“I think the offense looked good,” Surratt said. “Mitch started pretty hot and the offense was clicking. It looks like we’re going to have a really good year this year.
“I’m excited to have a guy in front of me who is really established. I’ll try to learn behind him.”
Surratt himself nearly participated in UNC's spring practice. However, days before he was scheduled to enroll in the spring semester he chose to remain at East Lincoln.
One of the main reasons for Surratt’s return was East Lincoln’s basketball team, which features his younger brother, Sage, as well as several close friends. The previous season, the Mustangs went undefeated until losing in the NCHSAA 2A State Championship to Kinston (N.C.).
With his elbow at about 80-percent from much of the basketball season, Surratt averaged 16 points, nine assists, and seven rebounds. Unfortunately, though, East Lincoln once again lost in the championship game after winning all the preceding contests.
While football will dominate most of his time, Surratt will walk onto UNC’s basketball team this summer. However, his primary focus is his elbow.
“They want me 100-percent by August,” Surratt said. “So, they’ll keep working with me in June. But I’m expecting to be 100-percent in August.”
In the months since the basketball season ended, Surratt has juggled rehab and UNC’s workout regimen. He now checks in at 6-foot-3 and 208 pounds – eight pounds heavier than his football season playing weight. UNC hasn’t given Surratt a reporting weight, but they expect him to play at 225.
Surratt will continue to sport No. 12 during his UNC career. The player who recently vacated that number, Marquise Williams, holds over 20 Tar Heel records.
“Marquise definitely had a really good year and a really good career at Carolina,” Surratt said. “But, I’m trying to be my own person and not fill anyone’s shoes. I’m just trying to do the best I can.”
Seeing that he nearly enrolled in January, UNC admissions and the NCAA Eligibility Center hasn’t been a concern for Surratt for several months.
“I signed up for my classes last week for summer school,” Surratt said.
Surratt is undecided on a major, but is considering business or finance.
On June 10, Surratt will graduate from East Lincoln. Four days later, he’ll report to UNC. The fact that he nearly enrolled five months earlier hasn’t numbed the feelings around leaving his family and going off to college.
“I’m excited and ready to get started up there,” Surratt said. “But, I’m a little nervous leaving my family. Graduating on the 10th and then leaving on the 14th is a little fast, but I’m looking forward to it. I’ve been waiting on it a long time. I’m looking forward to just getting down there and getting to work.”
“We all talked during the official visit and that’s what we decided to do,” Surratt said. “So, we’ve been texting and stuff since. That’s what we told the coaches what we wanted to do.”