Sage Surratt celebrates after scoring one of his two touchdowns at Virginia Tech last season. 

The cancellation of Wake Forest’s spring football practices and shutdown of campus put Sage Surratt back in high school, at least in one sense.

Surratt has spent a lot of time in Chapel Hill for the past couple of months, staying with his brother Chazz, a linebacker at North Carolina. Both Surratts were named to the All-ACC first-team last season — Sage at wide receiver, Chazz at linebacker.

And so the Surratts have gone back to pushing each other through workouts.

“Just working out with him and getting better every day with him. Pushing each other, he pushes me, I push him,” Sage says. “It’s kinda like old times, I guess you could say.”

Sage is coming off a season in which he had 66 catches for 1,001 yards and 11 touchdowns in only nine games. A shoulder injury in the fourth quarter at Virginia Tech cut his season short, and it’s an injury from which he hasn’t fully recovered.

“I’m close though, I’m a lot better obviously than the last time y’all saw me,” he says.

The COVID-19 pandemic has played a factor in delaying Sage’s rehab.

“It was a little wrench," he says. "I had actually gotten back to school to do rehab after spring break. And I was there until everything got shut down completely. You’ve just gotta make the most of it. But our training staff, they’ve done an extremely good job of keeping everybody updated and working through this.”

Virtual meetings help in this aspect, at least. But they’re not a complete replacement for face-to-face interactions that he’s missing.

“You’re so accustomed to seeing them and seeing all the people — I think the biggest realization is you don’t see the people you see throughout the day, small parts throughout the day, like you see in the nutrition center and the Miller Center and everything like that,” Sage says. “I think that’s probably the hardest thing on guys is not being able to see each other and get better, get that interaction going.”

Both Surratts chose to remain in school rather than enter the NFL draft — Chazz returning to the Tar Heels for a fifth season, but second at linebacker, and Sage returning for a fourth season with the Deacons. A record-setting quarterback-receiver duo while at East Lincoln High School, the pair has found their way back to Lincolnton a few times in the last two months.

While in Chapel Hill, Chazz does more of the cooking. The meals — mostly chicken, potatoes and broccoli — would pass Wake Forest sports nutritionist Kate Ruley’s standards, Sage says.

“You know, on our own little nutrition plan. I mean, that’s what we’ve got going and it’s working out well for us so far, though,” Sage says.

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