UNC linebacker Chazz Surratt may be the most interesting prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft.
North Carolina linebacker Chazz Surratt has transformed into one of the most interesting prospects for the 2021 NFL Draft in one of the most unexpected journeys you will see to college football stardom.
Coming out of high school, Surratt was a three-star recruit as a dual-threat quarterback.
After redshirting in 2016, Surratt found himself playing in nine games and starting seven as a redshirt freshman in 2017. He threw eight touchdown passes and ran for five more touchdowns for the Tar Heels.
It wasn’t enough, however, as UNC beat only Old Dominion and West Carolina in games Surratt played at quarterback.
A four-game suspension for selling team-issued shoes in 2018 followed by a wrist injury put Surratt’s future in serious question. He approached the coaching staff about a switch to the defensive side of the ball ahead of his junior season, and head coach Mack Brown assumed he meant a move to safety which Surratt had played in high school.
But Surratt wanted to play linebacker.
He traded his number 12 for 21 and moved to the defensive side of the ball, catching the coaching staff’s attention immediately with his natural athleticism and physicality.
Surratt’s quick transition to linebacker
We’ve certainly heard of prospects making position switches before. There are players every year who move from quarterback to running back or receiver. There are other players who move from safety to linebacker. Still, others go from receiver to cornerback or running back to receiver.
I can’t remember ever hearing about a quarterback moving to linebacker and having success with it.
All Surratt did in his first year as a linebacker with the Tar Heels was finish as the runner up for ACC Defensive Player of the Year with 115 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and an interception that sealed a win against Duke with seconds to play.
At 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, Surratt has the perfect frame for the linebacker position and the athleticism to cover all types of skill players. He also proved this past season that he is one of the most effective pass rushers from the off-ball linebacker position with 31 total pressures on the quarterback.
Surratt’s transition was met with some skepticism by the UNC coaching staff, but also plenty of optimism and he rewarded their patience and faith with an incredible season.
Looking ahead to the 2020 college season, Surratt has a chance to establish himself as arguably the best defensive player in the ACC this season and become a top 50 NFL Draft pick.