The transition from high school to college can be a difficult road to navigate. Some might go from a small school to big. Others may move across the country to a completely new place. For other football players, it’s listening to a new voice when your dad has been your coach since childhood. For North Carolina redshirt freshman quarterback Nathan Elliott, it’s been a little bit of all three.
“Celina’s not that big of a town,” Elliott said, “I grew up there my whole life and it was the only place I ever lived. It took me until the fall of my freshman year to get adjusted and figure out how to manage my time with school and everything else.”
As Elliott returns to his home state with North Carolina for the first time in his college career, the former Celina Bobcat is also adjusting to a different atmosphere in El Paso. Like many of his Tar Heel teammates, Elliott was loving the warm welcome they received on Christmas night.
“This is actually my first time being out this far west here in Texas,” Elliott said, “It’s a lot different than where I come from and it’s something new to see. It’s been great to experience the new culture and environment.”
On the football field, Elliott is also learning to be patient and wait for his opportunity. As the backup for Mitch Trubisky, Elliott hasn’t seen much playing time this season for the Tar Heels. That said, he’s taking every opportunity to learn from him and to be ready when called upon and is using his roommate as a valuable resource.
“I’ve learned a lot this season, especially from Mitch,” Elliott said, “We go over a lot of stuff and I’ve seen how he’s taken his game to another level. I have to prepare like I’m the starter so I try to simulate what Mitch does each week myself so that I’m ready to go when I get my shot.”
That shot could come as soon as next year. Trubisky is projected as a first-round draft pick and could very well declare for the NFL Draft. However, Trubisky told reporters Monday that he would wait until after the bowl game to make that decision. If Trubisky leaves, Elliott would most likely be in the mix to be the starter next season for the Tar Heels.
Elliott isn’t too concerned about whether he’ll have that opportunity next season by focusing on what he can control as opposed to what he can’t control.
“Mitch needs to do what’s best for him and he’s going to do that and I can’t really base what I’m going to do off of what he does,” Elliott said, “I’m going to work as hard as I can so I can push him, compete with him, maintain my spot and if he leaves, take that spot. I can’t really change my mindset based on what he does but I would be really excited to be the man next year.”