Q&A with Dwight Jones

Dwight Jones touched down in North Carolina late Saturday evening and began the drive from the airport in Greensboro to his new college home in Chapel Hill. While en route, the 6-4, 217-pound incoming freshman wide receiver spoke with InsideCarolina.com.

Background Links:
* Aug. 4 - Jones Back in Play
* Aug. 5 - Jones' Journey
* Aug. 8 - Jones Cleared
* Aug. 8 - It's Official: Jones In

How does it feel to officially be a Tar Heel?
"It feels good. It's just an excellent feeling. I've been waiting for this my whole life. It still feels kind of like I'm dreaming. It hasn't kicked in, yet."

How were you fitting in at Valdosta State?
"I fit in real good. I was surrounded by great coaches and great players. And I loved it down there, too. I was learning all the plays and all, so I was fitting into the offense."

How did you find out that you were actually eligible at UNC?
"I was getting ready to go to my first practice and the head coach called me in there. He said that Carolina called and said that I got qualified for Division I. I thought he was like playing around. I wasn't paying too much attention to it, because I was at Valdosta and thinking I was going to be down there for four years.

"I just went to practice. Later on, [Burlington (N.C.) Cummings assistant] Coach [Jay] Perdue called me and explained everything."

When David Dean, Valdosta State's head coach, told you the news, what did you think?
"I was really trying to figure how I was even qualified, because I worked so long to become qualified. I keep thinking ‘I can't be qualified.'"

After Coach Perdue explained the situation, what went through your mind?
"I was confused. I didn't know what I was going to do. I loved Valdosta – I loved the coaches [and] I loved it down there. At Carolina, I committed to them when I was a junior and I've always wanted to go there. So it was a very tough situation for me, so I just had to really think it out."

Did you keep tabs on the attention your story received locally?
"Not really. My mom just really informed me of everything and Coach Perdue – ‘Dwight, it was in the news' or ‘Dwight, they got something on you in the newspaper.'

"I didn't really have time. I was just trying to figure out what's going on, because I didn't even know if I was going to be able to go to Carolina. So I was really trying to focus on Valdosta at the time."

What was your main focus this week: choosing between Valdosta and UNC, or the NCAA paperwork?
"I wanted to get the paperwork done, but if the paperwork doesn't go through, I would have to stay at Valdosta. I really had to weigh my options. I finally just told the coaches I think I'll end up going to Carolina if the paperwork gets right."

How tough of a decision was it for you to choose between Valdosta State and UNC?
"It was a very tough decision. The first time Coach Dean and I talked about it I said ‘Coach, I don't know what I'm going to do, man.' First of all, we have to find out if this is true.

"Everything was so stressful at the time, nobody was really excited or ‘Oh yeah finally I get to go to Carolina.' It was just so stressful at the time and so confusing."

When the paperwork went through and you were cleared to go to UNC, were there any thoughts of staying at Valdosta?
"Yeah. I told my coach, Coach [Buster] Faulkner, ‘I'm going to try to get this paperwork done' just to let them know that I was trying to go to Carolina and not trying to hide it from them so if it does go through, they already know the situation and everything."

What were the responses from the Valdosta coaching staff and your teammates?
"Everybody was very supportive – nobody turned their backs on me. The coaches, they helped me out as much as possible. All the players just wished me good luck on whatever I did. So everybody showed me love, nobody was hating me or anything."

Have you spoken to anyone at UNC yet?
"No, I haven't spoken to any of the coaches."

When will you arrive on campus?
"It will be sometime tonight… I know I'm going to stay down there. I'm going to go meet the coaches at Kenan Stadium."

What is the plan when you get there?
"I have no idea. I know there's probably going to be a bunch of paperwork. But I really don't know too much right now."

Are you up for filling out some more paperwork?
[Laughing] "I don't want to, but I know I have to do it."

When will you begin practice at UNC?
"Whenever the first practice is I should be practicing."

How many practices did you get in at Valdosta?
"I think it was four – I forgot what it was."

Have you practiced in pads yet?
"The final day, I was getting ready to wear pads, but the coaches told me not to worry about it because they didn't want me to get hurt or anything."

What are your expectations for this coming season?
"Just go to school and help the team in any way possible."

Have you kept in touch with any UNC players?
"I used to keep in contact with Mike [Paulus] before my phone broke and everything. But I haven't spoken with any of the Carolina players recently. I can't wait to meet all of them."

How has this entire situation changed you?
"I probably matured and now see life a little different – that's it. Other than that, I really haven't changed. [I've matured] just so much, I really can't even explain it. I just see things a lot more different than I did before coming out of high school."

As a player, how are you different from when you graduated high school?
"At Valdosta, I got to play against better competition than I have before, and at Hargrave, also."

Dwight Jones Profile


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