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Jones commits to Arkansas Tech football

By Richard White

Kevin Jones

Kevin Jones

Greenwood Bulldogs’ three-year starter Kevin Jones, son of Head Coach Rick Jones and wife Mona, is headed to Arkansas Tech University (ATU) in Russellville to play college football. The senior receiver/kicker announced earlier this week that he has verbally committed to play for the Wonder Boys.  National signing day will be held during the first week of February.

Jones indicated that he was recruited to handle the place-kicking and punting duties at Tech, and possibly see time at receiver as well. Between football, his academic standing, and the Arkansas state lottery, Jones says that he is essentially receiving a fully paid scholarship to attend college.

The GHS senior was actively recruited by both Arkansas Tech and Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, and took official visits to both campuses. Asked what attracted him the most to ATU, Jones said it was, “the family aspect.” He added, “The players immediately accepted me, and the program is headed in a great direction.”

Jones said Tech is having an excellent recruiting year, and that Brent Dearmon, the team’s newly hired offensive coordinator, tutored under former University of Arkansas offensive coordinator and current Auburn Head Coach Gus Malzahn. Dearmon is expected to bring aspects of Malzahn’s offensive approach to the Wonder Boys. ATU Head Coach Raymond Monica just completed his second season at the school, posting a 3-8 record in 2014 after going 5-6 in 2013.

Jones had toyed with the idea of playing college soccer rather than football, but changed his mind after visiting the Russellville campus. He said he might still dabble in soccer, probably on a club or intramural level, but plans to commit himself to football fulltime. “I grew up in the game,” he said of being a coach’s son. “I’m just glad to be going to college for free,” he added. “It’s what I’ve always dreamed of. I’m excited.”

Jones has earned his share of post-season awards the past two years while also setting the all-time scoring record for Greenwood as a place-kicker. He was named as the Outstanding Specialist in the 6A-Central this past season. He converted 170 of 179 extra-point tries in his career, and 16 of 22 field goal attempts for a school-record 218 points as a kicker.

He also booted a school-record 53-yard field goal against Little Rock Catholic last October, and punted 29 times in 2014 for a 36.3-yard average. He kicked off 209 times and quite often put the ball in the end zone, forcing the opposition to take the ball at the 20-yard-line and go 80 yards.

An all-purpose player who rarely left the field, Jones also started at receiver, defensive back, and returned punts during his senior season. Jones led Greenwood in receiving this past season with 59 catches for 584 yards, including six touchdowns. Many of his catches were in clutch situations, while others were downright circus-like. He also had several interceptions on defense.

After being honored in 2013 by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper of Little Rock as the “6A Offensive Player of the Year”, Jones was also chosen by the Southwest Times Record of Fort Smith as the newspaper’s “Most Valuable Player” for his efforts during the 2014 season.

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