UNCs Trubisky: This is my chance so Ive got to take it

The junior quarterback was so conflicted about his decision to enter the NFL draft that it took a gentle scolding from his mother to finally get him to finally make up his mind

Ivan Pierre Aguirre—USA Today Sports
Dec 30

Mitch Trubisky went back and forth more times on his decision than an expectant father nervously pacing in a hospital waiting room as he agonized whether to enter the NFL draft or return to North Carolina for his senior season.The junior quarterback was so conflicted in the days following the Tar Heels’ loss to Stanford in the Sun Bowl last month that it took a gentle scolding from his mother to finally get him to make up his mind.”My mom was kind of getting annoyed,” Trubisky said. “She was like ‘alright, you’ve got to make a decision.'”Trubisky set single-season school records with 30 touchdowns, 304 completions, 447 attempts, 3.748 passing yards and 4,056 total yards in his only season as UNC’s starter and has all the physical tools for which NFL teams are looking. But with only 13 college starts to his credit, he had genuine concerns about his readiness for the pro game.In the end, he came to the conclusion that the opportunity to be a top-10 pick in this year’s draft was simply too lucrative to pass up.After gathering information from an array of coaches, teammates, family members, trusted friends and at least one successful former NFL quarterback he didn’t feel comfortable naming publicly, Trubisky took the weekend to “sleep on it and pray” before making anything official.Trubisky announced Monday he would be passing up his final season of eligibility to enter the draft.”There would be some days when I felt like I was leaving, then I’d wake up the next day and was like ‘maybe I need to come back. I want to come back,'” Trubisky said. “It was back-and-forth and it was a tough decision because North Carolina is so close to my heart. It’s going to be tough not being able to come back, but this is what I need to do for my career.”Trubisky is the third key Tar Heel underclassman to declare for this year’s draft. Defensive tackle Nazair Jones and running back Elijah Hood are also leaving school early to turn pro.With senior receivers Ryan Switzer, Bug Howard and Mack Hollins, running back T.J. Logan and three starting offensive linemen also leaving the program through graduation, there has been speculation that Trubisky’s decision many have been influenced by the lack of experienced offensive talent surrounding him had he decided to return in 2017.But the 6-foot-3, 200-pound Ohio native refuted that notion Monday, saying that despite the losses, UNC still has plenty of talented players to go around. A more valid consideration is the money. Jared Goff, the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, signed a four-year, $27.9 million contract with the Los Angeles Rams. No. 10 pick Eli Apple received a four-year, $15.1 million deal from the New York Giants. The third quarterback taken in the draft, Paxton Lynch, who went No. 26 to the Denver Broncos, received a four-year deal worth just under $10 million.”This is more about me making a decision that’s best for me, my family and my future going forward,” Trubisky said. “At this time right now, this is my opportunity to jump on this and take the next leap to the NFL I’ve got all the faith in the world in the guys coming back. If I came back I know we could have done great things, but I feel like this is my chance so I’ve got to take it.”Then there’s the matter of Trubisky’s draft stock, which likely will never be higher than it is now.He is projected by many draftniks, including ESPN analyst Mel Kiper, as the top-rated prospect at his position in what is generally considered a quarterback-thin draft. At least two teams, his hometown Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets, have openly expressed an interest in selecting him if he made himself available. The Browns are particularly quarterback needy and possess two picks in the top 15 of the draft.Trubisky said it doesn’t matter where or by which team he’s selected. He’s just “looking forward to showing teams what I can be and I that I can be the No. 1 quarterback in this draft.”To that end, the now-former Tar Heel star is getting ready to head to California, where he will work with former NFL quarterback Ryan Lindley in preparation for the league’s Scouting Combine in early March and UNC’s Pro Day shortly thereafter.Although Trubisky is disappointed in the way the Tar Heels’ season ended, with regular-season losses to rivals Duke and NC State before a Sun Bowl defeat by Stanford — in which he was admittedly distracted by his upcoming NFL decision — he said he’s leaving Chapel Hill with no regrets.”I don’t like to dwell on the past,” said Trubisky, who spent the previous two seasons backing up Marquise Williams. “I know if I could have went back I’d have done things the same way. That’s just the way I live my life.”There were definitely some distractions in the way that I wish weren’t there for the Sun Bowl. Those are things I can’t control now. I just have to move forward with it.”