In late May, North Carolina head coach Mack Brown and the Tar Heels picked up a commitment from Myrtle Beach (S.C.) wide receiver JJ Jones, a four-star prospect ranked as the No. 3 player in the Palmetto State for the 2021 class by 247Sports.
“It was a decision that I’ve been wanting to make my whole life, so I’m just really happy to get it out the way,” Jones told The Clemson Insider recently, reflecting on his commitment. “It felt like home when I was there, and the lifestyle of UNC is a really good fit for me. So, I think it was a pretty good decision.”
Jones’ verbal pledge to UNC has not stopped other major programs from recruiting him, however.
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound rising senior told TCI that several schools, including Clemson, have continued to stay in contact with him since he committed.
“Clemson, Florida State, Oregon, Alabama and Georgia,” he listed.
Clemson already has three commitments from wide receivers in the 2021 class – Beaux Collins, Dacari Collins and Troy Stellato – but the Tigers are keeping in touch with Jones in the event that a scholarship becomes available later in the cycle and circumstances warrant them adding one more wideout.
Jones said he typically talks to receivers coach Tyler Grisham, as well as his area recruiter, Danny Pearman, about once a week.
“Just still building a relationship because you never know what happens in the recruiting process,” Jones said. “But we still keep in contact. They said they still like my film, they just want to keep evaluating all the receivers they have coming in this class. With them already having three receivers, it’s going to be a little bit tough, but they said they’re still going to keep in contact with me just in case something happens.”
An offer from Clemson, if Jones were to receive one, would give him a lot to think about.
“It would definitely be something that I’d have to talk about,” he said. “But it’d be definitely a long conversation with me and family, just discussing the pros and cons of each school and what they offer me at the next level.”
Although Jones has grown up in the Palmetto State, neither Clemson nor South Carolina represented his childhood favorite team – instead, he had an affinity for another school.
“I liked Clemson, I liked South Carolina. I really didn’t grow up as a fan of either one, really,” he said. “I grew up as a West Virginia fan, and these past few years I grew up more of a Clemson guy because of the way that Coach Swinney and that staff handled these past few seasons … You could really tell that this team was really good.”
Jones recorded 45 receptions for 707 yards and 16 touchdowns as a junior at Myrtle Beach High School in 2019 after transferring from Socastee High.
What will Jones bring to the table for the team he plays for at the next level?
“They’re going to get a hard-nosed football player with a great work ethic, very physical and 50-50 balls, I don’t catch those – I call them 90-10 balls because I feel like if there’s a jump ball with me and the defender, they really have no chance to out-jump me, or I’m just more physical,” he said. “It’s hard to match up against me because of my size. I’m elusive for my size and I’ve got some good speed, so I feel like I’m really a mismatch for a lot of corners.”
Jones plans to enroll early in college. North Carolina beat out Georgia, Mississippi State, South Carolina and Tennessee, among other schools on his list of 30-plus offers, to land his commitment on May 21.
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