Three UNC football players with remaining playing eligibility will not participate for the Tar Heels in 2013, as Tar Heel Illustrated has learned that T.J. Leifheit, Reggie Wilkins, and P.J. Clyburn will receive medical hardships and no longer play collegiate football.
Leifheit, Clyburn, and Wilkins, all three members of the Class of 2010, were redshirted that fall and expected to be key contributors in the coming years. Wilkins did play as a redshirt freshman in 2011, recording four catches and even a touchdown, but each spent the entire 2012 and spring 2013 seasons with various injuries.
For Leifheit, it was initially ankles that gave him trouble (requiring surgery on the left ankle in both 2010 and 2011), and later his back, which sources say was the main ailment that kept him off the field for the 2012 season and the spring in 2013. As it turns out, injuries kept Leifheit from ever contributing in a game for the Tar Heels.
Wilkins suffered a hip injury a year ago which he's never fully recovered from, and after missing the entire spring this year, the fourth-year junior found himself out of the two-deep depth chart and with a major uphill battle to get back on the field. Unfortunately for Wilkins he won't get to play again for UNC, but he will get to remain on scholarship and get his degree, which is also the case with the two others.
After playing sparingly as a redshirt freshman in 2011, Clyburn was in the linebacker rotation for the Tar Heels in 2012 before suffering a shoulder injury. He missed most of UNC's game action in October and November---though he did return for the season finale victory over Maryland---and he missed all spring earlier this year.
The scholarships for Leifheit, Wilkins, and Clyburn to get their degrees will not count against the 80-scholarship limit for the 2013 season for the Tar Heels.