CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Larry Fedora has named redshirt freshman quarterback Nathan Elliott as UNC’s backup quarterback to Mitch Trubisky following Saturday’s final scrimmage of training camp, according to sources.
On Thursday, Fedora told reporters that Elliott and redshirt sophomore Caleb Henderson were neck and neck in their position battle for the backup spot.
“I don’t think anybody has really separated so much,” Fedora said, adding that both players were taking snaps with the ones. “If we had to play tomorrow and somebody had to go, we’d make a decision and put one of them in, but we’ve still got time.”
However, sources had told Inside Carolina over the last couple weeks that Elliott had performed better throughout the camp. And roughly 48 hours after Fedora's statement, he had seen enough to tab Elliott as the player most likely to step into the starting lineup if Trubisky is sidelined for any reason. This development was first reported by Andrew Carter of the News & Observer.
Elliott, an unheralded three-star recruit out of Celina, Texas, made a move during spring practice to become Henderson’s primary competition for the No. 2 spot. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound lefty has impressed in camp with his decision-making and lateral quickness.
Coinciding with Elliott earning the job, Henderson has decided to transfer, sources confirmed.
Henderson arrived at UNC as one of the program’s top signees in the 2014 recruiting class. The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder out of Burke, Va. was a four-star prospect rated as the nation’s No. 9 quarterback, according to Scout. He was a distant third option behind Marquise Williams and Mitch Trubisky during his redshirt freshman season in 2015, and failed to secure the backup job during spring ball after Williams departed.
Henderson cited "family reasons" on Twitter on Saturday morning as his reason for transferring. The transfer news was first reported by Andrew Jones of Tar Heel Illustrated.
Henderson completed 8-of-12 passes for 79 yards with three interceptions in the spring game, while Elliott completed 6-of-12 passes for 53 yards without a turnover.