CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- North Carolina junior defensive tackle Naz Jones announced on Friday that he is skipping his senior season of college in order to enter the NFL Draft.
"The University of North Carolina has changed me so much since the first day I stepped on campus," he said in a statement. "Throughout my career, I have been with a family of brothers and found people that have become my closest friends. They know I have an amazing opportunity to play at the next level, so I have decided to declare for the 2017 NFL Draft and forgo my fifth year of NCAA eligibility.
"I want to thank our amazing coaching staff, support staff and an incredible fan base. I know Tar Heel nation will always have my back! We still have one more opportunity to finish 1-0 and cap this season off on a positive note..."
Jones has totaled 62 tackles, including 7.5 for loss, thus far in the 2016 season. His final game as a Tar Heel will be the Sun Bowl against Stanford on Dec. 30.
The Roanoke Rapids, N.C. native has 137 career tackles at UNC and earned Third Team All-ACC honors the last two seasons.
“It’s been a pleasure coaching Naz throughout his career at UNC and watching him grow as a person both on and off the field,” said UNC head coach Larry Fedora in a statement. “He has overcome great physical adversity and improved tremendously since he came into the program in 2013. This season he was the leader of our defensive line and someone everyone on the team respected. I believe he has a bright future in professional football if he continues to work hard and focus on being the best he can be.”