CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Junior quarterback Mitch Trubisky’s 2016 season has earned him plenty of recognition.
Award considerations and national coverage have followed the Mentor, Ohio native from afar, and while he tries to downplay it, his current and former teammates won't let him forget it.
During practice and media availability, you can hear players passing him while shouting phrases like “Mr. Maxwell” or “First round pick.”
And earlier this month a T-shirt surfaced at Kenan Stadium featuring a striking resemblance to Trubisky.
“I don’t own one,” said the Maxwell Award semifinalist. “Technically I don’t think I can say it’s my shirt because of the NCAA, so No. 10 for the Tar Heels, I guess, is what the shirt implies.”
The shirt, spotted on former linebacker Shakeel Rashad at UNC’s homecoming win over Georgia Tech, features a drawing of a football player in a Carolina blue uniform with “10 God” written on it. Former quarterback and Supervisor of Morale Caleb Pressley designed the shirt for Barstool Sports.
“I wanted to get something out there for him, just because I know other people like me, they love watching him play,” said Pressley. “You always want to wear whatever your favorite player is wearing.”
Trubisky’s stock as an NFL prospect has soared this season, and subsequently national attention has followed. Pro Football Focus has Trubisky as one of the top-10 rising stocks in the 2017 NFL Draft. ESPN’s Mel Kiper projected Trubisky as his top quarterback to go in April.
And according to Pressley, this hype has been building since Trubisky’s first day in Chapel Hill.
“We all knew this was going to happen, it was just like a ticking time bomb,” said the former quarterback. “The coaches knew, the players knew… I talked to Coach Heck (UNC QB coach Keith Heckendorf) before the season, and he was like, ‘You excited?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, the world’s about to find out.’”
But even with all of the anticipation, it still took time for Trubisky to take the country by storm. It wasn’t until after conference play started that Pressley realized his former teammate had arrived.
“The Pittsburgh game is when I just went crazy, and I was just like, ‘Yo, that’s 10 God,’” recalled Pressley. “He’s the Drake of Chapel Hill.”
The “10 God” design was inspired by rapper Drake’s “Six God” nickname. While most close to Trubisky love it, there’s one exception in the family.
“His mom hates it,” said the former quarterback. “They’re a very Christian family, and ... she doesn’t understand Drake, so she was like, ‘I don’t understand the 10 God thing.’”
Of course, the shirt isn’t technically a Trubisky shirt, thanks to NCAA rules barring players’ likenesses being used for merchandise. Neither his name nor a UNC logo are on it.
So could it be any player who wears No. 10 for a Carolina blue team? Sophomore linebacker Andre Smith - who also wears No. 10 - disagrees.
“No, no, no, no, it’s not my shirt at all, it’s completely a Mitch Trubisky shirt,” Smith laughed. “I’m just a regular guy, Mitch is a superstar, No. 1 quarterback in the nation, top draft pick, that’s Mitch.”
This all comes at the expense of a man who admittedly hates the attention, going so far as wearing a hat on campus to try and cover up. Even then, Trubisky still gives his props to Pressley.
“It looks like a cool shirt,” said Trubisky. “Whoever made it, is that Caleb Pressley? He’s an intelligent guy.”