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Recruiting: North Carolina kicker Dawson Jones commits to Army

Dawson Jones’ college football recruiting was a little harder than most.

Jones didn’t have much kicking game tape as he’s waited his turn at Marvin Ridge (N.C.) High School behind North Carolina State punter Caden Noonkester and Kentucky incoming freshman kicker Jackson Moore.

Practice training videos were Jones’ way of getting his name out. Army entered the picture after checking out the videos and some of Jones’ clips from the season. The conversation was genuine with Jones and the Black Knights’ coaching staff. Bonds were built with special teams coach Sean Saturnio and recruiting coach Danny Verpaele.

Army offered Jones in March and then he knew West Point was where he wanted to go. Jones’ second visit since the offer validated his decision Tuesday as he committed to Jeff Monken in the head coach’s office.

“At the end of the day, I feel and I believe that Army is the place for me to go and the best school for me to succeed and grow as a person and player,” said Jones, who joined Army’s 2024 class.

“I have had a long lineage of family members that have served in the military across all the branches so it is just something that is important to our family.”

Jones kicked one field goal his junior year behind Moore, who Army also offered, and was 100 percent on his touchdowns. He has yet to punt on varsity but Army wants Jones to compete at kicker or punter when he arrives at West Point.

A soccer player most of his life, Jones found an orange kicking tee in his garage and wanted to try kicking out in middle school. He fell in love with kicking and had to balance football and soccer.

“When I realized that I could play college football, I made the switch to kicking full time (in high school,” Jones said.

Jones credits Dan Orner, his kicking coach for his success. He’s worked with Orner, who played at Warwick (N.Y.) High School about 40 minutes from West Point and kicked for North Carolina, since he was in seventh grade.

“He’s made me the kicker I am today,” Jones said of Orner. “He is definitely the best kicking coach in the country.”

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