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North Carolina Football: Jared Cohen returns to UNC

A strange saga may have a happy ending, after all.

NCAA Football: Virginia at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

In a weird twist to an even stranger story, offensive guard Jared Cohen is back at the University of North Carolina.

Cohen, if you will remember, was a member of the 2014 recruiting class. He played in all 13 games as a true freshman, starting in two of them, and was penciled in as a starter at guard for the rest of his Carolina career.

That never materialized.

Citing ‘personal issues’, Cohen left the team for Spring Practice in 2015, returned for the fall, then was released from his scholarship in late October. At the time, he said Carolina was “not a good personal fit” for him. In the ensuing months, he committed to Virginia...then never enrolled for the summer/fall of 2016.

Upon his return to Carolina, Cohen will be a walk-on. It’s logical to assume that he could earn his scholarship back with a strong showing this fall, and could figure into the rotation on the interior line as the season progresses. He’ll almost certainly be well behind grad transfers Cam Dillard and Khaliel Rodgers, incumbent starting guards Tommy Hatton and R.J. Prince, and numerous others recruited to fill his void.

Given the saga surrounding Cohen’s departure, subsequent tweets and decisions, and seemingly ample opportunity to play elsewhere, it’s honestly a bit surprising from where I sit that he’s been given another chance at UNC. With that said, good on the coaching staff for giving a seemingly troubled young man another opportunity, and good on Cohen for seizing the chance.

Cohen will have two years’ eligibility remaining, but chances are he could request a sixth-year waiver and play in 2019 since he’s been out of action for two years. Let’s hope he gets back in the swing of things and fulfills his immense potential in Carolina Blue.