From the tweets that brought you, "Did you know Jimmy Graham used to play basketball?" And the makers of "Did you know Ryan Fitzpatrick went to Harvard?" Comes the 2020 NFL Draft prospect that brings both worlds into one.
Before Wake Forest wide receiver Sage Surratt was modernizing what it looks like to Moss defenders, he was was a star scorer on the hardwood.
As a shooting guard for East Lincoln High School in North Carolina, the 6-foot-3, 200-pound Surratt averaged 34.7 point per game in his senior year. With the help of seven 40-point games and three 50-point games, he finished his high school career as the No. 2 scorer in state history with 2,951 career points. Such numbers earned him a scholarship offer to Appalachian State to play basketball.
But that wasn't the only scholarship Surratt earned for his athletics.
On the football field, Surratt caught 97 passes for 1,734 yards and 25 touchdowns in his final high school season. Those stats gave his name a nod at a second team spot in Max Preps Junior All-American squad, along with the likes of Jake Fromm, J.K. Dobbins, and Grant Calcaterra. With those accolades came attention, and when his final season was done, Surratt had offers from North Carolina, Duke, East Carolina, Wake Forest and even Harvard.
Wait, what was that last school?
In addition to being a two-sport athlete, Surratt also had a 4.93 grade point average.
"But Trev, I thought GPA only went up to 4.0?"
For most of us common folk, that is the case. But for people who took advanced placement calculus, AP History, and AP Psychology like Surratt, that number can go a lot higher.
Surratt was smooth on the court, strong on the field and smart in the classroom. So it should come at no surprise that now at Wake Forest, midway through his breakout redshirt sophomore season here in 2019, it's fair to say that all three element are showing up in his game.
Play No. 1: Contested Catches
Surratt is listed at 6-foot-3. I hope he's a legit 6-foot-3, because if he's any shorter then his style of game gets a bit unorthodox for his size.
The reason I say that is because Surratt really does play like someone who is 6-foot-5+. Surratt is so strong at the catch point, and he invites getting physical with defensive backs. When I watch his tape, he definitely gives me the JJ Arcega-Whiteside flashbacks.
I like both receivers similar reasons. They out-will their opponents for the ball.
Play No. 2: Basketball Box Out
Like it did with Arcega-Whiteside, the basketball background shows up constantly in Surratt's tape, and it does so in a good way -- even if you might have to live through broadcasters bringing it up every time he's Moss'ing defenders.
I mentioned that Surratt likes to get physical, but he doesn't do so in a manner that is overly aggressive as to draw penalties. Receivers naturally use their hands and arms to create separation against tight coverage. But such a style is susceptible to offensive pass interference. Instead, Surratt is a master of using his body to shield defenders and creates space that way. When you can use your body to box defenders out, and pair that with strong, reliable hands, that's when you can really take advantage of your size as a receiver.
Play No. 3: Smooth > Speed
Let's just get this out of the way now: Speed isn't going to be Surratt's primary way to win in the NFL. But I still think that the speed he does have is fine considering how well he wins with contested catches and how manipulative he is with his footwork.
Sometimes you have to get creative to gain separation. For Surratt that comes in the form setting defenders up and working them with smooth technique. The head fake and the half body turn were perfect on that play above, and the defender fell for it hook line and sinker.
As his background gives evidence to, Surratt is more than just strong. He's smart, often beating defenders with his brains before he does his brawn.
Play No. 4: Sage Strong
Make no mistake, though, the brawn element of Surratt's game is bound to show up, and it's sure to make your eyes widen, at times.
The limit of the fight in this man does not exist. Surratt is consistently playing for extra yardage, is always up for added contact, and doesn't shy away from doing the dirty work. Speed isn't the only way in which a player can accumulate yards after the catch. Sometimes it's about getting yards after contact for receivers like it is running backs.
I love Surratt's attitude towards making the most of every play, and I have a feeling the NFL will, too.
Play No. 5: Surratt The Savage
My goodness. I mean MY. GOODNESS.
I know we throw around the phrase "that man has a family" a lot now a days, but, Sage, that man has a family.
(I had to show the extended director's cut because, well, the world needed it.)
Surratt is smooth and Surratt is smart, but most of all Surratt is savage. How he approaches the game and the position with the mentality of knowing what he needs to do to get it done -- bring in passes, get extra yards, score touchdowns, etc. -- makes him such an easy prospect to like.
I know that Surratt is going to be limited in some ways just like I knew JJ Arcega-Whiteside would be. But I don't care. What he does well is translatable to outside receiver, inside receiver, as a blocker, as a pass catcher, and even on special teams.
I'll stand on the table for this kid in any draft room.