Freeman Jones' football career began on a whim.
Lacking a ride home from soccer practice, Freeman hitched a ride from a friend who was asked to audition as a kicker at Bunn High School. On the road, Freeman was asked if he would like to give it a try.
“Might as well try it,” Freeman said. “One thing led to another, I kicked a little better than him and coach said, 'So you want to play football?'”
“'I guess so,'” Freeman responded. “'I never gave it a thought.'”
And as they say, the rest is history. The small-town country boy began thumping football where ever he could find room, including a tract of land near his house surrounded by tobacco.
“Then he started kicking at a longer pace coming down the driveway from the road,” Brian Jones, Freeman's father, said. “That actually opens it up to 70 yards so he's got some room out there.”
But that still isn't enough room for the nation's number two ranked kicker. Freeman has been tearing it up on the summer circuit when kickers from across the nation gather to show their skills.
“He's strong,” said Dan Orner, a former Tar Heel who has worked with Freeman for several years. “He'll only get better as he hits the weights and adds five or ten pounds. But mentally when the kick's on the line, he's one of those guys you want taking that last kick.”
Freeman's first college kick is what has him most excited — even if it is still a year away.
“I can look out and see all these clouds, it looks like they're so far away,” Freeman said. “But one day, it's going to be a huge stadium — no sky — all I can see is Carolina blue.”
For Freeman, that dream is about to come true.
And how will it end?
“Right now it's: snap gets down, I kick it and it's on the way,” Freeman said. “I haven't made it yet, so I'm just waiting for that day to come.”
Freeman recently found out he was selected to play in one of the most prestigious high school football all-star games. He will tee it up for the East Squad at the Army All-Star Game in January.