For an 0-2 team, Carolina is sure getting a lot of props.
That the Tar Heels were so feted after last weekend’s 47-35 loss to 14th-ranked Louisville shows they just may have the most talented winless team in America.
Red-shirt freshman QB Chazz Surratt played only one half before going out with an injured leg but was still named ACC Rookie of the Week after completing 12 of 14 passes and two for touchdowns. Surratt, a two-sport star at East Lincoln High in Denver, North Carolina, is one of the most decorated prep players in the history of the state. He owns the all-time records for career total yardage with 16,593 and 229 touchdowns, either running or passing. The two-time state football champion and North Carolina Prep Athlete of the Year originally committed to Duke, then switched to UNC.
Sophomore Anthony Ratliff-Williams, who was ACC specialist of the week after his 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and 199 total kick return yards, was almost as decorated as Surratt in high school. He was the No. 1 prep quarterback in the state at Butler High in Matthews and No. 21 nationally. He was also rated the 19th best dual quarterback in the country after passing for more than 4,300 yards and 59 touchdowns, running for more than 1600 yards and 20 TDs.
Fellow sophomore Tom Sheldon has the best story. The 28-year-old, left-footed former Rugby star in Australia was the Ray Guy national punter of the week after averaging 54 yards in four punts, including a 66 yarder that was downed at the Louisville 1. Sheldon helped the Tar Heels rank third in the ACC in punting last season and lead the nation in punt return defense, averaging over 42 yards per kick and booming four for an average of 45 yards in the Sun Bowl loss to Stanford.
Sheldon trained as a punter in his home country at ProKick, which has produced numerous college punters. As the story goes, he liked the North Carolina program and sent a video clip to Larry Fedora, who offered him a long-distance scholarship before they ever met and Fedora ever saw him punt in person.
Nice bit of recruiting, there, coach.