Local products picked on second day of NFL draft, including former national prep player of the year

By Richard Walker

When Chazz Surratt was named Parade magazine’s national high school football player of the year in 2015, many were forecasting a NFL future.

Chazz Surratt’s cover picture after being named Parade Magazine’s 2015 national high school football player of the year

That came on Friday when Surratt was a third round selection – No. 78 overall – by the Minnesota Vikings.

It made him the first East Lincoln High product to ever be drafted by a NFL team.

Switched from his high school position of quarterback after three years playing the position at the University of North Carolina, Surratt blossomed into a NFL prospect as a two-time All-ACC linebacker for the Tar Heels.

“First off, I want to thank the Minnesota Vikings for selecting me,” Surratt said in a UNC news release. “I’ve dreamed of playing in the NFL since I was a little kid, and now I have that opportunity. Obviously, I took a different path than normal by changing positions during college, but it was the right decision and I’m glad it is paying off. I want to thank my family for their support and guidance throughout this journey. I wouldn’t be here without them. I also want to thank (former) coach (Larry) Fedora and his staff for bringing me to North Carolina and (current) coach (Mack) Brown and his staff for helping me as I worked through the position change. I can’t leave out my teammates. Those guys made my time in Chapel Hill so special and I feel really lucky to have so many brothers for life. This is an exciting time and I’m looking forward to joining the Vikings organization and getting to work.”

Said Brown in a UNC news release: “Chazz is one of the more unique stories I’ve seen in my time coaching. To go from quarterback to linebacker and have the kind of success he did shows just how athletic he is and how much he understands the game. Chazz is just scratching the surface of how good he can be and I think the Vikings are going to benefit from his work ethic and continued growth.”

In two seasons at linebacker for UNC, Surratt had 206 tackles, 22 1-2 tackles for loss, 12 1-2 sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in 24 games.

Named the team’s defensive MVP and a team captain in 2020, Surratt was sixth in the ACC with 91 tackles.

Surratt was one of six N.C. prep products selected on the second day of the NFL draft, among them two of his UNC teammates.

Wallace-Rose Hill’s Javonte Williams of UNC was the No. 35 overall pick in the second round of the Denver Broncos and another former Tar Heels standout, West Mecklenburg’s Dyami Brown, was selected No. 82 by the Washington Football Team.

Other N.C. prep players to be selected on Friday were South Caldwell’s Landon Dickerson of Alabama (No. 37 overall to the Philadelphia Eagles), Raleigh Sanderson’s Alim Neill of N.C. State (No. 72 overall to the Detroit Lions) and Mount Tabor’s Divine Deablo of Virginia Tech (No. 80 overall to the Las Vegas Raiders).

On Thursday, Maiden’s Caleb Farley, a cornerback from Virginia Tech, was selected in the first round with the No. 22 overall pick by the Tennessee Titans.

Other former N.C. prep players with hopes of being drafted include Sage Surratt (Chazz’s younger brother) of East Lincoln and Lincolnton, Tre Harbison of Crest, Mark Gilbert of Fayetteville Terry Sanford, Mac McCain of Greensboro Dudley, Hamsah Nasrildeen of Concord, Jamie Newman of Graham, Cornell Powell of Greenville Rose, Blake Proehl of Charlotte Providence and Larry Roundtree of Raleigh Millbrook.