PITTSBURGH — Alijah Huzzie has a tattoo on his left forearm. It reads “versatile” in big bubble letters, running all the way from his wrist to his elbow.
Is Huzzie versatile? His performance in Saturday's 41-24 win at Pittsburgh — complete with a 52-yard punt return touchdown, 114 all-purpose yards, two interceptions and a pass breakup — certainly indicates it.
His teammates, albeit in their own words, seem to agree.
After Huzzie's touchdown, senior linebacker Cedric Gray told the East Tennessee State transfer on the sideline, "you’re him." Later, junior wide receiver J.J. Jones echoed this compliment, deeming Huzzie “one hell of a player.”
Whatever you want to call Huzzie — versatile, a “hell of a player” or just “him” — the junior defensive back’s impact on Saturday night was undeniable, as he recorded his first career punt return touchdown and first two interceptions as a Tar Heel, helping lift North Carolina to its first 4-0 start since 1997.
Huzzie, who joked about having butterflies before his first spring game at UNC and reported being a bit “antsy” heading into North Carolina’s fall camp, has clearly found his groove within the Tar Heel corps.
“I just told Huzzie in the locker [room], I said I’d take him out to dinner this week in the bye week,” sophomore quarterback Drake Maye said. “I’m going to find time to take him out, wherever he wants, on me."
So, is Huzzie versatile? Maybe positionless is a better descriptor.
Following Saturday’s game, head coach Mack Brown said Huzzie would be playing at corner had UNC not lost DeAndre Boykins to a lower-body injury. Instead, Huzzie has slotted in seamlessly at star – a defensive position that operates like a defensive back and linebacker hybrid – where his seemingly magnetic ability to find the ball still carries over.