Mitch Trubisky has yet to finalize his decision about his future – either return to North Carolina for his senior season or enter the NFL draft – and he’s not likely to announce his plans until after the Tar Heels’ bowl game on Dec. 30, coach Larry Fedora said.
Trubisky, a fourth-year junior, began earning the attention of NFL personnel departments early in the fall, after helping lead the Tar Heels to dramatic comeback victories against Pittsburgh and Florida State in which he thrived. More recently, his NFL draft stock has appeared to be climbing.
Trubisky last week appeared on the back cover of the New York Daily News, which reported that the New York Jets believed he could the solution to their quarterback woes. Mel Kiper, ESPN’s prominent draft expert, has said that Trubisky is the top draft-eligible quarterback in the country.
Trubisky this season has completed 68.9 percent of his passes for 3,468 yards. He has thrown 28 touchdown passes and four interceptions, and his accuracy and pocket presence are two of the attributes that appear to be the most attractive to pro scouts.
Despite the burgeoning hype, though, Fedora said that Trubisky is still mulling whether to stay or go. Fedora and Trubisky have been in regular communication about his future, Fedora said, and that will continue through UNC’s game against Stanford in the Sun Bowl on Dec. 30.
“We’ll probably talk three or four more times, probably,” Fedora said during an interview last week.
Asked what his argument would be for the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Trubisky to return if he’s considered a likely first- or second-round draft pick, Fedora said he didn’t “really want to say, because I don’t want to influence it, either way.”
“What’s really important to me, is that first of all, for him to know that he’s not going to disappoint me either way,” Fedora said. “I want what’s best for him. And that’s very important to me. And so I’m very careful in what I say when we’re talking, he and I are talking, because I don’t want to influence him one way or the other.
“I don’t want that responsibility. That is strictly his and his family’s decision, and my job is to make sure and give him as much information as possible so that he can make a good educated decision, and I can tell you, he has a very thorough process that he’s going through. So I’m proud of the fact that he’s looking at it the way he is. So I’m very comfortable with either decision that he’s going to make.”
If Trubisky decides to enter the draft, his departure would leave the Tar Heels with inexperience at quarterback. Logan Byrd and Chazz Surratt both sat out their freshman season, redshirting. Nathan Elliott, a redshirt freshman, played sparingly as Trubisky’s backup.
UNC is also reportedly in the running for Malik Zaire, a graduate transfer from Notre Dame. Zaire is reportedly deciding between UNC and Wisconsin. He will have one season of eligibility remaining and can play immediately.
Trubisky’s success has raised UNC’s recruiting profile among quarterbacks, Fedora said.
“I can’t tell you how many quarterbacks have reached out to us across the country,” he said. “High school and transfers. From all over. So they see what kind of development he’s had. And we’ve seen him develop three, four years – they’re all seeing one year and they’re all like, ‘Wow.’ ”