UNC Visit Opens Jones's Eyes

Orlando linebacker gained a more well-rounded perspective of UNC during visit.

As part of a group touring from Orlando, Jonathan Jones made his first visit to North Carolina on Friday. The experience surprised the 6-foot-2, 220-pound linebacker.

“It was a great visit,” Jones said. “It definitely opened up my eyes more about the program. I honestly didn’t know that much about North Carolina. I knew that it offered a great degree, but it looks like they’re coming up with their new [defensive] football staff.

Despite the positive review, UNC has yet to penetrate Jones’s top five schools list, which consists of Duke, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, and Stanford.

“All of them are pretty set on academics,” Jones said. “And all of them look like they have a program that can go out and win a championship – or at least definitely go out and win bowl games.”

After finishing his summer visits, Jones will have a better idea of a decision timeframe.

Jones – who has taken recent trips to Clemson, Duke, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Maryland, NC State, South Carolina, as well as UNC – will spend three days at Michigan starting on Thursday. He’s also working on scheduling trips to Notre Dame, Oklahoma, and Stanford.

On Friday, Jones spent about five hours at UNC.

“My favorite thing about it was the players – I talked to [Jeff Schoettmer],” Jones said. “And then I talked to [walk-on] Cole [Holcomb] – he’s an early enrollee from Florida. When I talked to them, they were just really, really cool people. They spoke highly of the coaches – and they just got a new coaching staff and they’ve only known them for not even a year. I just like how the program is being run.”

The majority of Jones’s stay was consumed by UNC’s camp that afternoon. Although he didn’t participate, Jones engaged in plenty of mental reps as he attentively watched John Papuchis coach the linebacker group.

“Honestly, going through the drills, I was like, ‘Dang, I wish I would have suited up,’” Jones said. “But the things that [Papuchis] was just saying about the linebackers’ technique and the drills – it was just a learning session. He was teaching and I was just trying to pick up as much as possible. I wanted to be a student.”

Perhaps more importantly – at least as it pertains to his recruitment – Jones could envision being groomed by Papuchis.

“He has tons of experience and he just seems like he really knows what he’s talking about,” Jones said. “He’s a real cool guy. It looks like, he’ll get on you if he needs to, but also he’ll tell you that you did a good job.”

Outside of camp, Jones conversed with Papuchis.

“We just talked about what he could do for me and that North Carolina has a lot of things to offer that I’m pretty interested in, and that they’re a football team on the rise,” Jones said. “He said they want me to be a part of it.”

Jones believes UNC is recruiting him as a MIKE linebacker, the same position he plays for Orlando Oak Ridge.

Jones’s stay also included a tour of UNC’s football facilities.

“The stadium was real nice and they side they’ll be doing renovations by the time I graduate,” Jones said. “I’m excited about that.”

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