For the third time this offseason, the Tar Heels saw a player step away from the team due to medical retirement and join the 17 other players that was eligible to return this season that have left the team.
As first reported by Inside Carolina’s Ross Martin, sophomore offensive guard Jonah Melton has medically retired from football due to a recurring knee issue. Melton came to campus back in 2017 as the headliner of a solid cycle for Larry Fedora and company. Melton would sit the entirety of the 2017 season, though, recovering fully from a torn ACL that cost him his senior season at Eastern Alamance High School back in 2016. As a redshirt freshman, he saw the only action of his Tar Heel career when he took two snaps in the game against Western Carolina.
Melton was attempting to assume a larger role this spring, but was buried on the depth chart behind starters Ed Montilus and Joshua Ezeudu and backups Billy Ross and William Barnes at the conclusion of camp. With Melton now focusing on pursuing his career as a strength and conditioning coach, the Heels will look to fall enrollee Ty Murray and walk-on’s such as Layton Barber, Quiron Johnson (if he returns to the offensive line after a move to defensive line this spring) and Jacob Setterlind to provide some deeper depth at the guard positions.
While attrition is part of any coaching change, the depth of this football team continues to take hits this offseason. The Heels still have a good amount of talent on this roster, but staying healthy just continues to get more and more important.