Since Mitch Trubisky declared for the 2017 NFL Draft, the Tar Heels have clearly been in the market for a new quarterback. They have several in-house options, though none of them have been significantly tested in the field yet. Instead of looking at a competition between Nathan Elliot, Chazz Surratt, Logan Byrd, and Manny Miles, North Carolina could prefer to court a graduate transfer instead.
We have already reported that Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire is eyeing a transfer for the 2017 season. He has previously visited Chapel Hill and is said to consider them among his finalists, but apparently UNC has taken interest in a different transfer student in LSU’s Brandon Harris, and it turns out that interest in mutual.
Just got a text that North Carolina, Brandon Harris have mutual interest.— Brad Crawford (@BCrawford247) February 13, 2017
Harris was once the team’s starting quarterback for the 2015 season, when he threw for 2,165 yards and 13 touchdowns along with 226 rushing yards and four scores. In 2016, he lost his job to Danny Etling and ultimately appeared in only two games all season. Now, Harris has been granted a full release from his scholarship and will graduate before next season, allowing him to play immediately.
Statement regarding my future. pic.twitter.com/xNa3MkPXcw— Brandon Harris (@B6Harris) February 13, 2017
Whether the Tar Heels end up attracting Zaire or Harris to campus, it is clear they are looking to fill the QB position with a grad student. UNC has plenty of talent on the roster at the moment, but at least one of these transfers will hold some significant playing experience. Larry Fedora and company could then expose someone like Nathan Elliott—who showed decent numbers in a very limited amount of time—to more significant playing time over the course of the 2017 season, knowing they have a safety net behind him.