Dwight Jones: 'I Just Love Carolina'

BURLINGTON, N.C. --- Six-foot-five, 210-pound wide receiver Dwight Jones and his coach Steve Johnson sat down with Inside Carolina on Friday to discuss the junior's commitment this week to the Tar Heels.

Why did you decide to commit to Carolina?
"It's close to home and I really like the players down there. I talk to them and they pretty much influenced me to make the choice. I just love Carolina. I've always wanted to go there since I was little."

What did you like about it when you were little?
"I used to like basketball more than football. And when I first saw them play football, I just loved them. I love the atmosphere and the big crowd (at the Wisconsin game), and I just knew that's where I want to play.

How did your offer and commitment go down?
"When I first got the letter from Carolina, I was very excited. That was my first offer. Then when they asked me to come to the (UNC-GT basketball game on Wednesday), I thought I might go ahead and commit. They had already offered me, but that was the first time I had really gotten to talk to Coach [John] Bunting. I told him I loved Carolina. He said, ‘Do you really want to come to Carolina?' And I said, ‘Yes.' Then we shook hands and gave each other hugs, and that was that."

Who were the other schools that offered?
"N.C. State, Virginia Tech and Virginia."

What do you think the UNC coaches like the most about you?
"I guess they were looking for some height. Everybody nowadays says they're looking for big targets. I believe I can go down there and help them with their receiving squad."

What did you like about the UNC coaches?"
"(UNC assistant coach Marvin Sanders) was very interested in me when I was a freshman. I could tell he was interested in me and I like him."

Do you play other sports?
"Yes I play basketball."

Are you playing right now?
"Yes sir. We're 20-1. The conference championship is tonight." (Editor's note: Jones scored 31 points on Friday night to lead the Cavaliers past Pittsboro Northridge)

What are your goals for this coming football season?
"To win the state championship, because I never won the state championship. We lost in the championship my freshman year. I just want to be a better teammate and win a state championship."

How firm is your commitment to UNC and is it going to stand the test of time?
"Yes, I really plan on going to Carolina. If any other schools offer me, I'm going to stick with Carolina."

Cummings head coach Steve Johnson

What makes Jones special?
"He's been on varsity since he was a freshman. He started out on defense and never played offense until last year – his junior year. He played as a defensive back as a freshman and led our region with nine interceptions that year. That was phenomenal. People saw him and said, ‘Freshman! Attack!' That wasn't the right idea. It wasn't a very smart thing. During his sophomore year, we used him as a defensive end and a defensive back; so he's got the toughness. He's got that mentality for defense, so I think that's helped him as an offensive player.

"It took a long time for him to get adjusted to wide receiver because, for one, we had a new quarterback. But when there was a ball thrown and he was getting tough coverage, he would win the battle because he was just that much tougher than his opponent. He would just take the ball away, and I think that's from his defensive mentality. He just went and got it. And I think that's what makes him special."

Did he play any defense this past year?
"He played DB, and we'll play him even more on defense this year. When we saw teams that we thought had a special wide receiver or back that needed to be shut down, we would put Dwight on him.

What were the key factors in his recruitment and decision?
"I think the key factor was Marvin Sanders. He's done an outstanding job of recruiting our kids since he took over our area. Now we've got Brandon Tate down there, a kick returner that should vie for a starting spot at wide receiver; Durell Mapp, who started at middle linebacker for them last year and Jabir Jones, who will be vying for a spot as a defensive back."

How is he set for academic qualification at UNC?
"He's OK right now, but he needs to get better because he hasn't taken the SAT yet. The higher you can get your core GPA, then you don't need as high an SAT. So I never tell them to be satisfied where they're at, because some kids do very well on the SAT and some don't."

How good to you think Jones can be?
"I think as Dwight gets stronger, he's going to be exceptional. He's got the heart. But the one thing he needs to get better on is his overall strength. He's long and wiry, but the more he can get in the weight room will be very beneficial to him."

How fast is he?
"He's not anything blazing in the '40.' He's probably about a ‘4.65 or 4.7' at best. He's deceptive because of those long legs of his. He runs smooth; he's just not a blazing speed guy. He's tough. If I had to compare him to somebody famous it would be Muhsin Muhammad. You know Muhsin Muhammad never beat anybody with speed, he beat them with his toughness and his capability to make cuts. That's how I would equate Dwight."

Dwight Jones Profile

Inside Carolina Top Stories