On the North Carolina football team’s first depth chart, Brandon Harris was listed as the starting quarterback. So was Chazz Surratt. And Nathan Elliott.
Other positions listed multiple players as starters or second-stringers, but none stood out more than the quarterback list, which emphasized the lack of a starter with the word ‘or’ printed in boldface capital letters.
At his first weekly press conference of the season, head coach Larry Fedora had no update on who the starter will be against California on Sept. 2. He said he plans to carry on the competition until Saturday, the date of UNC’s home opener.
He did offer some thoughts on Surratt, a redshirt first-year who’s garnered more and more attention in the past few weeks as he fights for the starting quarterback job.
“I think he’s quite a bit better than he was last year,” Fedora said, “and I think that’s just (from being) a full year into it and understanding the expectations and how we practice and what the focus level has to be each day to be an elite quarterback.”
Fedora noted that Surratt’s sitting behind No. 2 overall pick Mitchell Trubisky didn’t hurt either. But he was also complimentary of Harris, who many expected to separate himself from the pack earlier in the year.
“Brandon brings something that none of the other guys have: his game experience,” Fedora said. “We needed somebody in that room with game experience.”
At running back, sophomore Jordon Brown and first-year Michael Carter were listed as co-starters. Graduate transfer Stanton Truitt was not listed on the two-deep depth chart.
Anthony Ratliff-Williams, a converted quarterback, sits as one of three starting wide receivers next to seniors Austin Proehl and Thomas Jackson. After redshirting in 2015, he appeared in all 13 games and got limited touches as a kick returner in 2016. But now, he’s comfortable in his new position.
“He’s come a long way …” Fedora said of Ratliff-Williams. “I kind of relate him to Ryan Switzer. It took Ryan a while to understand the receiver position … now, you’re starting to see Anthony turn that corner on what it means to be a receiver.”
The team’s offensive line carousel continued, too. As of Friday afternoon, junior Jared Cohen is no longer with the team.
Cohen played as a true first-year in 2014, and he left the team after the season ended. He committed to play at Virginia in 2016 but never did. Now, after returning to UNC as walk-on and contending for a starting spot, he’s gone.
“It’s not something that you like, but it’s part of the game,” Fedora said of Cohen’s departure.
Fedora also said Tommy Hatton is still with the team, even though the redshirt sophomore offensive lineman has been missing from practice on account of personal reasons. Graduate transfer Khaliel Rodgers, who also made headlines when he retired from football and then rejoined UNC less than a week later, is listed as the No. 2 left guard.
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