Chazz Talks Surratt Versus Surratt
Note: Full video of Surratt interview posted below
CHAPEL HILL - From Mack Brown’s first true road game since he arrived back at North Carolina to both programs meeting in Winston-Salem for the first time since 2012, the Tar Heels’ trip to face Wake Forest on Friday night is full of notable storylines.
Still, perhaps none are as big as UNC junior linebacker Chazz Surratt facing his younger brother, sophomore Demon Deacons wide receiver Sage Surratt, for the first time almost ever.
Chazz and Sage have been on the same teams most of their lives and starred together for three seasons at East Lincoln High School in Denver, NC. Chazz, a former Tar Heels’ quarterback who made the switch to linebacker early last offseason, threw 45 touchdown passes to his brother during a highly decorated prep career that ended with him being named the Parade National Player of the Year.
Surratt to Surratt for six happened four times during Chazz’s sophomore season, 18 times as a junior and 23 during his senior campaign in 2015.
While the brothers had numerous college options, the likelihood of them colliding – literally – on a football field in college seemed rather remote.
Sage redshirted his freshman season before finishing as Wake’s second-leading receiver last fall, racking up 41 receptions for 581 yards and four touchdowns. In the Demon Deacons’ first two games this season, he has 13 receptions for 203 yards and two touchdowns.
Chazz played quarterback for the Tar Heels his first two seasons, seeing action in 10 and starting seven, though he played in just one game before suffering a season-ending injury, which led to him moving to linebacker.
For Chazz, his transition from quarterback to linebacker has been seamless. Having amassed 17 tackles so far this season, the junior is UNC’s second-leading tackler behind sophomore linebacker Jeremiah Gemmel.
Wake’s Surratt can run just about any passing route, but the Deacons take advantage of his 6-foot-4 frame sending him over the middle a lot, and when UNC’s Surratt is on the field, that means the younger brother will be entering the older brother’s territory on defense. Needless to say, there’s a strong probability they will collide at some point.
Chazz spoke about what it’s going to be like to play against his brother during a press conference Tuesday evening at the Kenan Football Center. Here’s what he had to say:
Q: Do you talk to Sage this week or do you just not talk to him and wait until after the game?
SURRATT: “I talked to him Sunday. I’ll probably talk to him Thursday night before the game and then I’ll see him Friday.”
Q: As a football player, how has Sage improved at Wake Forest and what does he do well that will challenge the defense?
SURRATT: “I think he runs good routes, he can catch the ball really well. He’s a big, strong, physical receiver, one of the more physical receives we’ve played this year. He’s a smart football player, he has great timing when the ball’s in the air, he wins a lot of jump balls. And then, Jamie’s (Newman) really good, so he’s going to give him good balls to go up and get so we’ve got to play well this week.”
Q: On what it was like growing up and competing against each other in sports:
SURRATT: “We always played one-on-one in different stuff so it was very competitive. As we were younger, I was always a lot bigger so I always usually bullied him a lot. But, sophomore year, he hit a growth spurt and got really good and got a lot closer in competitiveness. We were always going back and forth so it will be exciting to be on the field together for the first time since my senior year so we’re both looking forward to it.”
Q: On what it’s going to be like to be able to hit Sage now that Chazz is playing defense:
SURRATT: “I think it’ll be pretty good, I’m going to try and lay him out if I can. My teammates have been asking me if I’m going to hit him or if I’m going to go hard or not but I’m going to try and lay him out. I think the first time I see him out there I’ll probably smile just because he’s going to be 10 yards away from me in the boundary but, once we get into the game, I think both of our competitiveness we’ll take over and we’re going to play hard.”
Q: Your mother I’m sure isn’t happy to hear you continually say you’re going to lay him out?
SURRATT: “No, she just said ‘don’t hurt my baby,’ that’s it. But, it’s football, it’s a physical sport and I’m not trying to hurt him or anything. I’m going to play hard and our team is going to play hard.”
Q: Does that make you feel some type of way that she’s telling you not to “hurt her baby?” You’re her baby too, right?
SURRATT: “I am but I’m on defense and he’s going to be trying to get away from me, not tackle me or hit me so, yea, it’s a little different but it’s whatever.”
Q: On whether or not his parents will be sitting in the Wake Forest or UNC section Friday and what they’ll be wearing:
SURRATT: “I don’t know what they’re going to wear to be honest but my parents will probably sit in the Wake section but my other brother, he’s in the Air Force right now and he’s taking leave to come to the game, he said he’ll sit in the Carolina section for me so they’ll be split up.”
Q: On having a dad that experienced similar things with his brothers and how that influenced him:
SURRATT: “My dad talked a lot about his brothers and growing up with two brothers and a sister and what that meant. He was the youngest so that kind of made him into what he was as an athlete and a person. He knows more of what Sage has been through because Sage has been the youngest of three brothers so he definitely has a great perspective on what it’s like being a brother and that competitive nature with both of us.”
Q: On the bragging rights at home depending on who wins Friday night:
SURRATT: “We’ve been talking about it for a while, even senior year when he committed to Wake we knew at one point we’d play each other. But, now, we’ll be on the field at the same time so it’s a lot different instead of me playing offense. It’s going to be a big deal, I know we’re both not trying to lose. We’ve been talking about it for a while so we’re both excited to get out there.”
Q: Besides bragging rights, are there any friendly wagers or bets between you and Sage?
SURRATT: “No, not right now. I don’t know what my parents got going on but, between me and Sage, no. We’re just trying to go out there and play hard.”
Q: Do you recall off-hand how many touchdown passes you threw to Sage during high school?
SURRATT: “A lot, at least 45-50.”
Q: When was the last time you and Sage competed against each other in an organized sport?
SURRATT: “Maybe AAU one time because his team played up in a basketball tournament and I think we won but we haven’t played organized sports against each other. That was the only time.”
Q: What was your favorite thing about playing with him in any sport?
SURRATT: “Just knowing that I’ve got a guy out there that I can trust, that was the biggest thing. And we were always working together. We were always, with me and my best friends from high school and back home, we were always together. So, that brotherhood and being out there with him all the time and knowing I’ve got a guy in my corner regardless. And he’s a really good player so that helps a lot too. I was able to trust him to make plays when we needed to.”