"He has great vision and is a strong running back," Reynolds head coach Shane Laws said. "He's difficult to tackle. Part of that is 1) his vision – he works off his blocks real well. He's not super tall, so he's already pretty low to the ground; and 2) he's a lot faster on the field that people think he is. He has that gear where he can pull away from people. And then he becomes a bit of a problem for defensive backs to tackle, because of his strength.
"He's also very intelligent. He's a smart football player – he's been playing since he was very small. He understands the game. He understands what we're trying to do with the game plan.
"And he's very versatile, because he's played football so long. He catches the ball well out of the backfield. You can line him up in the slot and he runs routes like a receiver. We have even done stuff with him in the wildcat package where he's the quarterback. And he throws the ball fairly well. He's just a football player and he's a really good athlete."
Jones became a varsity starter as a freshman, playing wide receiver and seeing spot duty on defense.
The following offseason, Jones was moved to running back. He concluded the succeeding season with 1,541 yards and 25 touchdowns on 257 carries and 23 receptions for 261 yards and two scores. For his accomplishments, he was named Citizen-Times All-Western North Carolina and All-Mountain Athletic Conference.
Last Wednesday – the first week North Carolina coaches were on the road for the Spring Evaluation Period – UNC offered Jones his first scholarship.
"It was great," Jones said. "I wasn't expecting it at all. I like Carolina."
UNC assistant coach Walt Bell extended the offer during a visit to Reynolds.
"I know the University of North Carolina is making a strong commitment within the football program to take North Carolina back," Laws said. "We – the high school coaches in North Carolina – we feel like too many of the good players in our state are leaving. Carolina has suffered because of that. But they've made a commitment to the high school coaches and to the program that they're going to get the best players in North Carolina back on their campus. And I think to do that, you have to find them early."
The offer wasn't simply a byproduct of wanting to be the first. UNC believes Jones can be a game-changer.
"They feel like Jave is a lot like Gio [Bernard], who just left," Laws said. "They think there are a lot of similarities between the two. And we all know how that worked out for them. I hope Jave ends up being as good as Gio was for North Carolina, but as far as build and strengths, I can also see the similarities."
UNC is unlikely to be Jones' last offer. NC State and South Carolina are scheduled to visit Reynolds in the coming weeks, according to Laws, and he wouldn't be surprised if either or both follow UNC's lead by offering.
Completely new to the recruiting process, Jones has yet to make a recruiting visit. He plans to camp at UNC this summer and is considering a trip to Georgia at some point, also.
Given his lack of exposure, Jones is reluctant to name favorite schools.
Jave is pronounced Ja-va (short "a" sound followed by long "a" sound)… Outside of football, Jones is a part of Reynolds' basketball and track-and-field teams. In track, he runs the 100-meter dash and is a member of the 4x100 relay team… Jones grew up a UNC fan. "I just liked their colors and that [they're associated with] Nike," he said.