Signee Update: Freeman Jones

With North Carolina's incumbent kicker Thomas Moore slated to return for his senior season, it could be assumed that signee Freeman Jones is destined to spend his freshman year as a red-shirt. Jones says that's far from a given.

"They want me to compete," Jones said. "They're not trying to bring anybody in and have them sit on the bench. That's not to say I'll play and that's not to say I won't. It depends on how hard I work and if I can win the job. But they've told me they want me to compete."

However, Jones, a Bunn (N.C.) product, sees positives in red-shirting the coming season.

"If I red-shirt, then I could be the kicker for four full years," Jones said.

During the recruiting process, Jones mostly communicated with Luke Paschal, who worked as a graduate assistant at UNC overseeing the specialists. When Paschal left for Arkansas State, Ron Brewer, UNC's assistant director of player personnel, filled the void until Jonathan Rutledge filled Paschal's vacancy.

"[Rutledge] called me a couple of weeks ago just to say ‘Hey' and tell me he's going to be working with me," Jones said. "He said he watched some of my tapes and loved my kickoffs. He said he looked forward to getting me down there and getting me going."

After an elongated football season – thanks to his participation in the Shrine Bowl followed by the U.S. Army All-American Game – Jones took a two-week break. He then doubled up in the spring sports season playing baseball and golf for Bunn.

"I would go to all the baseball practices," Jones said. "Most golf matches were on Mondays, so on Mondays I would go to the golf match and just skip the baseball practice. There were nights where I'd have a match and a game on the same day so I'd go to the match and as soon as I was done I drove to the baseball game."

For Bunn's baseball team, which finished 21-4 and reached the third round of the NCHSAA 2A playoffs, Jones started every game in right field and saw some time at pitcher.

"I know I don't bat very well – I'll be the first one to tell you that," Jones said. "I'm just out there to have fun."

Jones found much more success in golf. The team won the Northern Carolina Conference, finished third in regionals, and finished 12th in the state championships.

Despite his hectic spring schedule, Jones found time to work on his kicking craft. He didn't have a fourth period class, so he would spend that time kicking. He also worked with his personal kicking coach, Dan Orner, in Charlotte.

However, Jones's weight room time suffered. When he initially received the workout regimen that UNC's strength and conditioning staff sent him, Jones followed it for a couple of weeks. But eventually, baseball and golf took precedence. Now that both seasons have concluded, he plans to pick up the regimen where he left off.

Jones will graduate from Bunn on June 14. He'll then enroll at UNC four days later where he'll share a suite with fellow signees Caleb Henderson and Devin Perry, as well as midterm enrollee Elijah Hood. Jones plans to major in education.

"I want to go back to Bunn and be a [high school] coach," Jones said.

Jones has a couple of paperwork odds and ends to complete, including his final transcript, and he'll then be deemed qualified by the NCAA Clearinghouse.

Freeman Jones Profile

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