"He was an anchor on the offensive line," said Sutherland. "That group really did well against one of the state's top ranked defenses in that semi-final loss. Offensively, we had plenty of yards, but unfortunately we had a couple of turnovers that really cost us."
Handerson, a 6-foot-7 260-pounder, was a fixture at left tackle where he twice won the team's "Decleater Award" for providing the week's biggest hit. He also used his lengthy frame to block a few field goals and extra points.
The Tar Heels' coaching staff is expected to keep Handerson at offensive tackle where they will take advantage of his frame and athletic ability.
"He's very athletic, very agile, and he runs well," said Sutherland. "We're a triple-option team and our tackles not only pass protect, but also have to be able to go out and block on quick screens, and get down field and block linebackers and defensive backs on the option. One thing that was a common theme with [the coaches] that came through, they couldn't believe how good his feet were. He's a guy that can rebalance and then get a block down field."
In early December, Handerson, who committed in mid-July, officially visited Chapel Hill. Despite scholarship offers from Oklahoma, Florida, Auburn, and Alabama, Handerson has not and will not take official visits to any other schools.
Handerson chose North Carolina over the aforementioned programs because of its academics and quality coaching staff.
"Zack is very focused as far as what he wants and he wants to go get an education," said Sutherland. "He already knows what he wants to major in and he researched it. North Carolina was very strong academically, specifically in the areas he wants to major in.
"He liked the coaching staff. Once he researched the academics of the schools he liked, he then made contact with the staffs and he attended a number of camps over the summer to get a feel for the coaching styles. He really liked the UNC coaches."
According to Sutherland, Handerson is already qualified and ready to enroll in the summer.