Jones An All-American

North Carolina pledge Freeman Jones recently received news that he'd achieved a longtime goal.

"I was in class and I got a text from Chris Sailer saying ‘Call me ASAP,'" Jones said. "I asked the teacher if I could go to the bathroom and I went and called him real quick."

During the brief conversation, Sailer, one of the nation's top kicking coaches, informed Jones that he had been selected to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Jones, a kicker for Bunn (N.C.), returned to class, but his stay was short-lived.

"I had to leave class," Jones said. "I couldn't focus. It was too much to handle.

"I was more than thankful that [Sailer] picked me. I was just ecstatic. I actually went to a teacher's classroom who is a coach and I was jumping up and down. Him and another coach were looking at me like ‘Okay, what are you doing?'"

Jones will join three other UNC pledges on the U.S. Army All-American's East squad – Caleb Henderson, Elijah Hood, and Bentley Spain.

"This means a lot to me, because since I've been putting a lot of effort into kicking this has been a goal of mine," Jones said. "It's just something that I've always wanted to do. Once I got that call and found out that they picked me, it was more than overwhelming."

The U.S. Army All-American selection will cap off what has already been a solid senior season for Jones. He has converted 11-of-13 extra points and 4-of-7 field goals with a long of 47 yards. Over 90-percent of his kickoffs (19-of-21) have landed in the end zone or beyond for touchbacks. For the first time, Jones is also handling punts for Bunn, averaging 33.69 yards on 13 punts with a long of 47 yards.

"I'm having probably the most fun I've ever had playing football," Jones said. "I'm so carefree out on the field. Last year I had fun – don't get me wrong. It's not a burden to go out there and play on a Friday night. But last year, I was trying to perform and do everything I could so I could put together a great tape."

Jones says that being committed to UNC has taken a lot of pressure off of him every Friday night.

"I'm just going out there and trying to do my job – put it in the end zone, put it through the pipes to get our points – to help win the game," Jones said. "Just to get an offer coming into my senior year is all I wanted this time last year. Now more than that, I'm committed to North Carolina."

Being one of UNC's first '14 verbal commitments, Jones has been able to watch the Tar Heels' class take shape.

"From what I've seen and heard, this class and who we're recruiting in the 2015 class, it's awesome," Jones said. "We're getting a lot of big names. I'm really looking forward to these next four years."

"I didn't get to watch the South Carolina game, because we played that Thursday," Jones said. "But from what I've heard, we were just a couple of big plays away from being into it. I watched the second half of the Georgia Tech game and from what they were saying they played really well in the first half.

"Wins and losses aren't as important to me as what's going to happen in the future and the relationships that are going to be built when I'm there. I'm not saying that I'm happy that they're off to a 1-2 start, but wins and losses don't mean the world to me."

Speaking of relationships, Jones has built a bond with Randy Jordan, his area recruiter, and Luke Paschall, a graduate assistant who works primarily with UNC's special teams. Jones speaks to both weekly.

Jones was unable to make UNC's season-opener because of a scheduling conflict, but he plans to be on hand for the remainder of the home games starting with Saturday's in-state rivalry contest with East Carolina.

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