FLORENCE, S.C. — After starting at center for Charleston Southern in 2019, J.T. Melton will start this spring at right guard.
Yes, in the spring.
After FCS teams, including the Buccaneers’ Big South Conference, did not get to hold an official season last fall because of the pandemic, Melton will line up in a game at right guard for the first time March 13 at Kennesaw State as a redshirt junior. He is also going into this season as an all-Big South honorable mention pick (Phil Steele has him as second team).
Then, the former Dillon High School standout will get to do it for another season in the fall.
“It’s perfect,” said Melton, a member of three state championship teams at Dillon. “I’m excited just to get the maximum amount of opportunities to go out there and show what I’ve got, and just go out there and dominate.”
After a severely sprained right ankle kept Melton from playing in the Bucs’ final game in 2019, he got a lot of experience at his new position during last fall’s 15 days of practice.
“It was good to be back since I wasn’t able to finish out the season in 2019,” Melton said. “Getting out on the field and having time to practice was fun to get back into the swing of things.”
In March, Charleston Southern planned on conducting spring practice after spring break.
Then the pandemic happened.
After Charleston Southern held its fall practice, the players then went home for about two months.
“Our strength coach had been working on a packet for us whenever we were practicing in the fall to help us stay in shape while we were on our long break,” Melton said. “When we get back to school, we’ll be lifting and conditioning for a while. And then, we’ll start practicing.”
Melton, who returns to college on Sunday, can easily point out his biggest improvement.
“I would have to say it’s the method of preparation, just knowing how to prepare for games,” Melton said. “I have a year of experience starting. So, I know better how to go into the week and prepare specifically for the next opponent, how to counter what our next opponent does. Just to focus better on what puts you in the best position to win.”
Melton appears to be having success all the way around at CSU.
Melton, who has made Charleston Southern’s past two dean’s lists, is majoring in public health with the intention on graduating in December.
And on top of that, he’ll soon get to play in a game again.