"There's a lot of pressure," said Dwight Jones, following Tuesday's practice. "Everybody's expecting us to win and win every game. When we lose, there's a big article in the paper and everybody is looking at us and they're like ‘Dwight, what are you doing?'"
Jones, a 6-foot-3 205-pounder, will put all individual goals aside this season and focus primarily on leading the Cavaliers to their fifth NCHSAA State Championship.
"I've never won a state championship in football so that's my main goal," said Jones. "I just want to help my team out; I'm not too worried about individual stats."
While Jones' offensive position is a given, on defense he will serve as a jack-of-all trades.
"Dwight, on offense, will play wide receiver and he's our go-to guy, but on defense we've got to put him where we have to stop the opposing team," Cummings offensive coordinator Jay Purdue said Tuesday from the practice field. "So if the opposing team has a great wide receiver, then he'll play corner on that guy; if we need him at safety, then he'll play safety; if we need him up on our running attack, he'll play defensive end. He's been doing this for us ever since he was a freshman."
Jones' base position on the defensive side of the ball is strong safety, where he receives a lot of freedom to roam.
"We feel like there [at strong safety] he's helping the run and the pass," said Purdue. "Dwight can play everywhere on defense really."
Jones will also return kickoffs for Cummings.
In mid-February, Jones verbally committed to North Carolina over scholarship offers from N.C. State, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest. Despite his pledge, schools including Florida have continued to recruit Jones, but he has never wavered.
"He's firm with North Carolina, that's been his first choice from the start," said Purdue. "He hasn't wavered from that at all. He's got a good relationship with Marvin Sanders – they've hit it off. He really likes Coach [John] Bunting. He's really not entertaining any other ideas other than North Carolina."
Jones confirmed that he would not take any visits – official or unofficial – to any other campus outside of Chapel Hill.
The attraction to Jones is his physical style of play as a possession wide receiver.
"I think his size and I think his toughness," said Purdue. "Dwight brings a tough aggressive style to wide receiver. You can put him out there and he makes some mismatches for the corners."
A few weeks back, Jones attended North Carolina's big unofficial visit camp weekend that welcomed plenty of fellow highly touted recruits.
"It was pretty cool chilling with Mike [Paulus] and Lansford Watson – but I heard he committed to Maryland," said Jones. "I met a lot of players I've never met before like Mike and Ryan [Houston] and Albert [Craddock] and all them."
Speaking of Paulus, Jones said he is definitely excited by the future possibilities of playing with a heralded quarterback.
"I get real happy [thinking about the future with Paulus]," said Jones. "When I'm there I know I'll have somebody there that can throw to me."
A Scout.com four-star prospect himself, Jones is the 18th ranked wide receiver in the nation by Scout.com.
During his junior season, Jones caught 49 passes for 962 yards (19.6-yard average) and eight touchdowns.
Cummings' 2006 football season kicks off on August 18th at Graham (N.C.) Southern Alamance.