Jared Cohen had gone through spring football practice, gone through the summer conditioning program and was set to enter his sophomore season at North Carolina with a chance to make a significant contribution to the Tar Heels' offensive line.
And then he was gone. Cohen left the team before the start of preseason practice, returned to his hometown of Owings Mill, Md., and hasn't been back on campus since. His status for this season remains in doubt, though there has been no indication that he'll be back.
Nor has there been any indication that he'll be back beyond this season, though UNC's coaching staff remains hopeful that Cohen will return at some point. Chris Kapilovic, the Tar Heels' offensive line coach, said on Tuesday that he regularly speaks with Cohen.
“I stay in touch with Jared and his family and we're anxious to have him back,” Kapilovic said. “And the time frame – obviously each day that goes by it's not looking too good for the fall. So we're just hoping that everything gets straightened out on their end and we have him back sooner than later.”
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Cohen played in all 13 of UNC's games last season. He started two of those. He would have entered the preseason as a reserve but could have been in line for a starting position given UNC's injury woes on the line during the preseason.
Kapilovic on Tuesday alluded to Cohen taking classes and working back home in Maryland.
“He's home and they're trying to get things worked out to where he's back to 100 percent back here,” Kapilovic said. “And part of that is just getting a job and being in the real world a little bit and taking a few classes at maybe a local community college.
“And hopefully, like I said, if it's not in the next week, sometime by January he'll be back with us.”