Fortin Will Play Saturday, May Start
True freshman quarterback Cade Fortin will play some Saturday night when Virginia Tech visits Kenan Stadium, and it’s possible he may start, multiple sources close to the situation have confirmed to Tar Heel Illustrated.
With sophomore quarterback Chazz Surratt now out for the season and junior Nathan Elliott having struggled all year, Fortin’s opportunity is here. At 6-3 and 210 pounds, Fortin has seen action in one game so far, UNC’s 41-19 loss at East Carolina in the second contest of the season.
He played eight snaps versus the Pirates, completing 3 of 6 pass attempts for 15 yards and he ran the ball once for 17 yards.
UNC’s staff hoped to get Fortin into the home game versus Pittsburgh a few weeks ago, but Elliott moved the offense early and the staff opted to not make the move. Now nearly five weeks removed from his one appearance, UNC Coach Larry Fedora says Fortin is increasingly suited to handle a role on the field with mostly older players.
“I think he’s a little bit more comfortable with the offense, I think he’s a little bit more comfortable when he’s out there with the guys,” Fedora said after Wednesday’s practice at Kenan Stadium. “They’re comfortable around each other, so it’s not ‘Hey, I’m running the show,’ he understands it now. He feels good about the guys that are out there and they feel good about him.”
That may not have been the case earlier in the season, but building that connection to teammates is so vital for a young quarterback to have success.
“You gotta have that, you gotta have that,” Fedora said.
Fortin, who attended North Gwinnett High School in Suwanee, GA, originally committed to play at Texas A&M, but decommitted last December a week before committing to UNC. He signed several days later in the new early signing period and enrolled in January so he could participate in spring practice.
True freshman quarterback Jace Ruder, a 4-star prospect from Norton, KS, also enrolled with Fortin and battled him throughout August for the backup job, a spot vacated for the first month of the season because Surratt was serving a suspension.