Since Harris won’t enroll until this summer, current UNC quarterbacks Nathan Elliott, Chazz Surratt and Logan Byrd have all received reps this spring. While all three do have talent, none of them have any meaningful experience.
As a full-time starter for the Tigers in 2015, Harris threw 13 touchdown passes and just six interceptions, but he was unable to keep his starting position in 2016 after struggling in the first two games of the season.
In most cases, a quarterback with a 53.9 career completion percentage wouldn’t become a highly sought-after recruit. However, Harris’ case is different given the situation he was in at LSU.
Under former head coach Les Miles, the Tigers struggled to develop their passing offense. And Harris, a dual-threat quarterback, was a poor fit in former offensive coordinator Cam Cameron’s pro-style offense.
North Carolina’s spread offense is a much more quarterback-friendly system that should be a better match for Harris’ skills.
While graduate transfers can be a great short-term fix to an inexperienced roster, they can also adversely affect team chemistry because that transfer is likely taking the spot of someone who has been working with the team all offseason.
“This will be the first year we’ve done it, but I don’t anticipate any issues,” Fedora said. “A guy will come in and get integrated into the team and find out how we do things, just like a freshman. As soon as they walk on campus, they become a part of this family and guys take them under their wing and take care of them.”
Although tight end Brandon Fritts is committed to working with the current players on the roster, he’s excited about the possibility of bringing some experience to a young unit.
“It brings in fifth-year guys that have played college football; they’ve been in the fire,” Fritts said. “It’ll be great to bring them here with their leadership and the history of playing.”