It’s official now.
The UNC football team will undergo an enormous makeover before next season, as junior quarterback Mitch Trubisky announced early on Monday that he will forego his senior year and enter the 2016 NFL Draft.
“This has been the most difficult decision of my life because of the unbelievable people and experiences I’ve had at the University of North Carolina,” Trubisky said, in a statement released by the school. “It’s hard to leave a special place like UNC, which has had such a huge impact on my life and helped make me into the man I am today. I’m so thankful for my family, my teammates, coaches, trainers, strength staff, academic staff and all the fans of Tar Heel nation. You guys have helped me in so many ways and have shared experiences with me that I will cherish and be thankful for the rest of my life.
“I love UNC and it’s a privilege to call myself a Tar Heel.”
Despite sitting behind Marquise Williams in each of the past two seasons, Trubisky showed this year why he was such a sought-after recruit coming out of Mentor, Ohio.
In his one year as a starter, he set school records for most passing touchdowns (30), completions (304), attempts (447), passing yards (3,748) and total offense (4,056 yards).
As a way to reflect on his time in Chapel Hill, Trubisky also took to the Players’ Tribune, where he published an article speaking to Tar Heel fans everywhere–telling them that “No matter what happens, I love you guys.”
“Mitch is a great representative of the University of North Carolina–he’s everything you would want in a student-athlete,” head coach Larry Fedora said. “My role throughout this process was to provide him with as much information as we could obtain so he could make the best decision for him and his family.
“He patiently waited for his opportunity to play at UNC,” the coach added. “And when that chance came this year, he had one of best seasons in school history.”
The national spotlight has only gotten brighter on the Tar Heel signal-caller since he rose to the top of ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr.’s quarterback rankings midway through the 2016 campaign.
With this decision, Trubisky will immediately enter the discussion of potential first-round picks this spring.
His prototypical 6-foot-3-inch frame paired with his rocket of a right arm will be an attractive commodity to most teams look for a quarterback–with his relative inexperience being potentially the biggest drawback.
Trubisky will join tailback Elijah Hood and defensive tackle Nazair Jones as other Tar Heels to declare early for the draft, while graduated seniors like Hood’s running-mate, TJ Logan, wide receiver Ryan Switzer and cornerback Des Lawrence will also be on the way out.
This will leave Fedora with a wide variety of holes to fill in his lineup next year, but there’s no question that these talented Tar Heels helped pave the way for a great future at Kenan Stadium.