Evaluating a quarterback recruit is like building an image in Photoshop.
It isn’t the most glorious task, and it certainly doesn’t happen in a single stroke of a brush. But every interaction with a player that may very well be the face of your school’s program one day — and every conversation with people who know him well — adds to the candidate’s portrait.
Pixel by pixel.
“We talked to pretty much everybody, anybody that we could run into,” North Carolina quarterbacks coach Keith Heckendorf said of quarterback Chazz Surratt’s recruitment. “I couldn’t tell you who it was or the name, but I know I had conversations with guidance counselors, with the principal. You know, anybody that we come across."
Heckendorf, who spearheaded the redshirt first-year's recruitment, talks to school administrators, teachers and janitors on his visits. And Surratt’s case was no different.
“I remember talking to a security guard one night at a football game,” Heckendorf said. “The leadership that (Surratt) had within his team, within his school ... everybody within the school had nothing but great things to say about him.”
By the end of Surratt’s high school career, he’d been named North Carolina’s Gatorade State Player of the Year in football. He won state titles in 2012 and 2014 and broke North Carolina's total yardage (16,593) and touchdown (229) records. In basketball, the kid from Denver, N.C., led his team to two title appearances.
And this Saturday, in his first true season, the former four-star commit will take the field against the undefeated Duke Blue Devils. His fourth career game will hold weight for two reasons: It’s an in-state, conference rivalry matchup, and it's the first time Surratt will face the school that he first declared he was attending.
On April 21, 2016, and for about two months after that, Surratt planned on being a Blue Devil.