Don Callahan/Inside Carolina

Melton Pulls Double Duty

In addition to enjoying his official visit as a recruit, Melton helped with UNC's recruiting efforts.

Being firmly committed for nearly a year and having made countless unofficial visits to campus -- both as a recruit and as a fan -- Jonah Melton's North Carolina official visit was supposed to be a mere formality. That changed when the four-star offensive guard was asked to move up his official visit date to help recruit Cesar Ruiz

"Coach Kap [Chris Kapilovic] called me and told me how Cesar was taking his [official visit this past weekend] and he didn't want Cesar to do his alone," Melton said. 

Originally, Melton was supposed to take his UNC official visit the same weekend as the other midterm enrollees. Instead, the 6-foot-3, 293-pound Mebane (N.C.) Eastern Alamance product chose to be a team guy by immediately moving up his official visit to this past weekend to help with Ruiz.

"I just tried to get to know him a little bit better and try to recruit him," Melton said. "I felt he had to warm up to me a little bit. But, I felt like he liked it a lot. So, we'll see how it goes."

Melton believes UNC's chances with Ruiz are "high." But like most recruiting observers, Melton speculates it's going to be difficult to unseat Ruiz's perceived leader, Michigan.

"I saw him on his phone looking at a lot of Michigan stuff," Melton said.

Melton's official visit weekend wasn't only about Ruiz. Melton and his family were able to enjoy one of the benefits of being a recruit.

"The amount of food that I ate was ridiculous," Melton said. "I got to talk to more people behind the scenes, like the professors. When I normally take a visit, it's just all football. But the official was more time with the academic support people."

Football was a apart of the official's itinerary, though. Melton had separate meetings with Larry Fedora and Kapilovic, UNC's offensive line coach. 

"I've been over there so many times that there's really not much to talk about," Melton said. "We just talked about when I'm going to be 100-percent ready to go with my knee. Once we figure that out, we'll probably get more into [their exact plans for me]."

Five months removed from surgery to repair his torn ACL, Melton is on track to be fully cleared by January.

"I'm really just at that point of the rehab where I'm just grinding out the same stuff -- straight ahead running, stretching," Melton said. "I should be doing change-of-direction stuff here very soon."

A big part of Melton's official visit weekend was UNC's last second, come-from-behind victory over Pittsburgh on Saturday.

"It was crazy," Melton said. "At one point, I was pretty sure we were going to lose. I was telling my dad, 'If we don't score on this drive right here, I don't know if we're going to win.' But, somehow we came back. 

"I'm a superstitious guy and towards the end of the game we started coming back when I was looking at my phone. So, I told myself I couldn't get off my phone. We kept driving down the field and then we scored."

Equally enjoyable to the win was Kenan Stadium's environment while the comeback was underway.

"The atmosphere was definitely a lot better than any other games I've been to at North Carolina," Melton said. "That last few seconds was just crazy. That was the loudest it's been for any game I've been to there." 

Freshman offensive lineman Luke Elder served as Melton's player host for the weekend, but he spent almost as much time with Nolan DeFranco, Jay Jay McCargo, and Tyler Pritchett.

"Whenever I go over there, I talk to them," Melton said. "I have a good relationship with them now, so it's a good time whenever I go. I know them really well now, so it's not awkward or anything like that."

Given UNC's proximity, Melton will likely attend the rest of UNC's home games.

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