The UNC offensive line–which is already losing four starters to graduation–became even thinner on Wednesday night, when redshirt sophomore Tommy Hatton announced via Instagram that he is retiring from football.
Hatton revealed that a concussion suffered in August during training camp caused him to miss the entire 2017 season when effects lingered for close to four months.
It was the fourth concussion of Hatton’s young career. Prior to the injury, he was working with the UNC starters at the left guard position–and was widely expected to win the starting role.
As a redshirt freshman in 2016, Hatton played in nine of UNC’s 13 games–including eight starts.
He was also a four-star recruit coming out of St. Joseph Regional High School in Montvale, New Jersey, ranked as the No. 4 player at his position in the country.
Since I been a sophomore in high school over my bed has read " I will play in the NFL." Unfortunately that dream will not be able to be achieved. On August 3rd, I received a routine hit in practice that left me hospitalized and in a concussion state for close to four months. Unfortunately this was not my first concussion but rather my fourth. During this time I did all types of therapies to try and subside my concussion symptoms so that I could return to the field in 2018. After meeting with some of the best neurologist in the nation I have decided that I will medically retire from football. When people ask me will I miss football the answer is simply YES. I gave everything to this game since I been a little boy, but life has a way of throwing you curveballs at the most unexpected times. I can leave football knowing that I gave everything that I had and more in order to help my team win on game day. I was never the most talented player, but the one thing that I always had was heart and it took me far in this game. So unfortunately I won't be playing on Sundays and it will hurt for a little bit but I will take all these lessons that football has taught me and apply it to whatever life throws at me. Thanks to everyone who has supported me over the years, especially the great people of New Jersey, your guys support has been so paramount to my success and I would not be here with out you all. I want to thank Coach Fedora and his staff for believing in me and offering me a scholarship to play football at the University of North Carolina. Thanks to all the great teammates that I have had over the years I love you all and thanks for making football the best experience of my life.
Photo via Jeffrey A. Camarati (UNC Athletics)