CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – After a heated position battle dating back to the spring, redshirt freshman Nathan Elliott has finally secured the backup quarterback spot behind starter Mitch Trubisky.
Redshirt sophomore Caleb Henderson emerged from spring ball as the likely No. 2 option, although his three interceptions in the spring game left the door ajar for Elliott, who capitalized during training camp. He ultimately claimed the job on Saturday, coinciding with Henderson’s decision to transfer.
When Larry Fedora described the decision to give Elliott the job during his radio show on Tuesday, it sounded pretty simple.
“He made good decisions [and] he took care of the football,” Fedora said. “You’ve got to do that in the position. If you don’t do that, we don’t have a chance to win.”
As far as how Elliott will fare in game action, Fedora said he hopes the pedigree the 6-foot-1, 195-pound quarterback brought from his hometown of Celina, Texas will translate in Chapel Hill.
“Nate’s a guy we brought in [for camp],” Fedora said. “He’s a kid that can spin the ball pretty good, he can run, he’s the typical kind of quarterback that we recruit. He’s a coach's son. He played in a very tradition-rich program there in Celina. They’ve won a lot of state championships down there, so he knows how to win. He’s really got a good knack for the offense.”
Elliott has a long history with UNC quarterbacks coach Keith Heckendorf. Elliott camped at UNC in the summer of 2013 while Heckendorf was a member of the support staff, and he received an offer from Arkansas State after Heckendorf followed Blake Anderson to Jonesboro. Upon returning to Chapel Hill as QB coach, Heckendorf extended an offer to Elliott, who accepted in April 2014.