For those that pay close attention, the 2017 NFL Draft is expected to be rather thin on adequate quarterbacks come this April. Even Heisman Trophy finalist DeShaun Watson has taken his fair share of criticism in the ability to translate at the next level. That’s one of many reasons the focus of scouts has shifted to junior UNC quarterback Mitch Trubisky, according to MMQB’s Emily Kaplan. Trubisky is finishing his first full season as the Tar Heels quarterback, which will conclude at the Sun Bowl December 30 against Stanford in El Paso, Texas. The ball will then be in Trubisky’s court, for he’ll have to decide whether to return for his senior season or head to the NFL when his stock may never be higher.
Age: 22 (August 20, 1994)
Weight: 220 lbs
Hometown: Mentor, Ohio
Team: University of North Carolina
Mitch Trubisky Statistics
Like most aspiring Ohio football players, Trubisky wanted to play at Ohio State and wear the Scarlet and Gray. However after learning that J.T. Barrett would be attending Ohio State, Trubisky shifted his attention elsewhere despite receiving an offer from the Buckeyes. Michigan State also offered him, but after visiting Chapel Hill Trubisky was sold. He wanted to be a Tar Heel.
After redshirting as a freshman, Trubisky came into the 2014 offseason prepared to battle the elder Marquise Williams. Williams would win the competition but Trubisky still appeared in ten games, throwing 42 completions on 78 passes for 459 yards. That was good enough for four touchdowns but also four interceptions. Nonetheless, head coach Larry Fedora got a glimpse of what was to come from the young quarterback.
Trubisky would have a similar sophomore campaign, sitting behind Williams but appearing sporadically throughout the season. He showed drastic improvement in completing passes (40 of 47) and passing yards (555) and touchdowns (six). He added additional scores as a rusher finding the end zone three times on the ground. With a 31% increase in completion rate and Williams set to move on after the season, the Tar Heel program rested easily knowing Trubisky could handle the duties full time.
Appearing in three more games than his first two seasons (nine), Trubisky unremarkably shot passed all his season-highs in statistical categories. He completed 281 passes in 408 attempts and posted 3,468 yards. He threw 28 touchdowns to just four interceptions, yielding great praise for his ability to get the ball out quickly. While the Tar Heels regressed to 8-4 after an 11-3 season in 2015, Trubisky proved enough to NFL scouts that he is worthy of being in the discussion of the first quarterback taken in Philadelphia next April.
While Trubisky has yet to announce his intentions regarding the draft, him and his family have said they will sit down after the team’s bowl game and make a decision then. That timeframe is short, as underclassmen must declare by January 16 or deem they are returning to school for another season. While criticism of Trubisky includes a small sample size of just one full season, coaches like his high school’s Steve Trivisonno and UNC offensive coordinator Blake Anderson, have lauded their signal caller for his leadership and dedication outside the team facilities. While that may be coach-speak and something heard every draft season, Trubisky might benefit from it due to a bare quarterback class.