Birmingham Stallions Tight End Sage Surratt
Current tight end, and former wide receiver Sage Surratt has suddenly stacked a couple solid games. Prior to joining the Birmingham Stallions, Surratt was trying to make his bones at wide receiver. However, Skip Holtz and Wide Receivers coach Mike Jones felt the tight end position better suited the big bodied receiver.
In college Sage Surratt produced as a wide receiver despite not having NFL level speed for the position. Surratt would ultimately redshirt as a true freshman which allowed him to learn the playbook and get in an NCAA weight room. This allowed him to work on his speed and strength heading into his redshirt freshman season.
In his second season with Wake Forest, Surratt quickly found his stride. He would go on to rack up 41 receptions for 581 yards and 4 touchdowns. This would place him as the second leading receiver on the roster. He also had a break out game against Tulane when he caught 11 passes for 150 yards.
In year three, the year everyone has long pointed to as the season it all clicks for receivers, Surratt proved this stereotype right. He would ball out. In just nine games he was able to snare 66 receptions for 1,001 yards and 11 touchdowns.
This established him as the number one option for the Demon Deacons heading into the 2020 season. However unbeknownst to anyone at the time, Surratt would never play another down for Wake Forest following the 2019 season.
Following two strong seasons in the NCAA at the Division One level, Surratt was faced with a tough decision. Should he risk his safety, and potentially the safety of his family to build on his redshirt sophomore performance? Ultimately Surratt decided the 2020 season was too big of a risk, and opted out of the 2020 year.
Despite all players being granted an extra season of eligibility, Surratt wouldn’t suit up for Wake Forest again after the 2019 Bowl Game Appearance. After his college career ended early, Surratt decided to declare for the 2021 NFL Draft.
Heading into the draft Sage Surratt was ranked as an average back-up or special teams contributor at the NFL level. A very apt NFL player comparison was made at the time. JJ Arcega-Whiteside was the man scouts compared him to, and it made sense.
Let’s look at the strengths of these players in their draft profile:
NFL Caliber Size and Strength
Able to High Point Ball in Coverage
Now for a quick look at their shared weaknesses
Lacks take off speed to scare NFL cornerbacks
Slow to snap on come-back routes
Average burst to separate at top of route
The ironic part is now both of these men find themselves moved to tight end at the next level. The man known as JJAW by Eagles fans has been asked to play special teams, and been used as an inline blocker as of late. This would preface his move to tight end in 2022.
The same could be said of Surratt. He came into camp with the Stallions regarded as a wide receiver. As the season wore on it became apparent the 6’3 215 lb receiver was better suited to playing tight end. This would mask his inability to separate by matching him up with slower defenders.
Closing Words on Sage Surratt
Sage Surratt will likely need to add weight to make it work as a tight end full time. However adding weight shouldn’t be an issue for a man whose older brother was drafted as a linebacker by the Vikings. Chazz Surratt actually stands 1 inch shorter than his younger brother and weighs in at 233 pounds.
It isn’t out of the question to see Surratt come back in season two with the Birmingham Stallions weighing somewhere between 225-240 pounds. This would allow him to be more valuable as an inline blocker for the Stallions, and potentially even give him an opportunity to see more snaps on offense in two tight end sets in 2023 and beyond.
Through five games n 2022 with the Stallions he has caught 8 passes for 88 yards. This is good enough for 7th on the team in receptions behind the top three wide outs, running back CJ Marable, and starting tight end Cary Angeline. I could see him picking up a larger role as he becomes a more natural fit at tight end.