UNC Offers S.C. O-Lineman

Oliver Jones received his third verbal scholarship offer on Monday when North Carolina offered the 6-foot-6, 285-pound offensive tackle.

"Coach [Sam] Pittman told my coach [that I was offered] and my coach told me," Jones said. "[Pittman] came by [Monday], as a matter of fact, when we were lifting after school. We do a little bit of running and conditioning before we lift. He watched me do that [and] came in and watched me squat. And then he told Coach [about the offer]."

After finishing lifting, Jones, a native of Ninety Six (S.C.), phoned Pittman.

"He told me when I visited in March that he liked me as a person, but he just wanted to see my footwork," Jones said. "And I think he saw enough [Monday] – that's why he offered."

In addition to UNC, Jones holds offers from in-state schools Clemson and South Carolina.

"[The UNC offer] means a lot, because North Carolina is known for not just handing out scholarships to anybody," Jones said. "They're normally not too quick to offer people."

Several additional schools throughout the nation have expressed an interest in Jones. However, most have been hesitant to offer him because he missed his entire junior season with a torn ACL and broken femur, which he suffered during a preseason jamboree.

"I know [the injury] set me back some, but it just let me realize who really wants me and who doesn't," Jones said. "I know schools far away are going to back off me, which I'm not naïve about.

"But as far as the injury, it just made me work that much harder. Being on the sideline and having something that you love taken away from you, it's just going to make me work harder my senior year to bring Ninety Six a state championship."

Jones, who started his sophomore season at offensive tackle, won't be cleared for full contact until July.

According to Jones, he and Pittman have been developing a relationship for "a while now."

"When you meet a coach, he's telling you about him and he's trying to get to know a little bit about you," Jones said. "We talk pretty much every week and he's always been the same ever since I've met him. He's been a down-to-earth and laid back guy. But, you can tell he gets his work done when he needs to – I could see that when I went to [UNC's] practice."

In March, Jones attended UNC's Junior Day, which was his first and only visit to the campus.

"I was pleasantly surprised about the campus and the coaches and the facilities," Jones said. "We watched them practice and I met pretty much all their coaches."

Jones is looking to return to UNC sometime during the summer.

"[My interest in UNC] is growing," Jones said. "It's definitely growing. I have a lot of interest in North Carolina."

Jones' interest level in UNC is high enough to include it among his top five favorite schools, along with Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, and South Carolina. He has visited all five favorites.

"[At those schools], I like the people and the programs in general," Jones said. "They're all good programs competing for conference championships. They all have rich histories and they're definitely all places I could see myself going."

Jones says that Clemson has a "slight lead" on the other favorites.

"I've been [to Clemson] more," Jones said. "But with North Carolina coming in, I'm definitely going to try to get up there more so I can get more comfortable up there and see more of North Carolina."

Jones is doesn't have a timetable for when he'll make a verbal commitment.

"I'm not sure if it will be before the season, sometime during the season, or after the season," Jones said.

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