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Former Heritage standout signs with New England

Justin Jones’ football career continued recently, this time at the professional level.

The Heritage graduate and former East Carolina tight end was signed by the New England Patriots as an un-drafted free agent following the recent NFL Draft and will compete for a spot with the three-time Super Bowl champions.

Jones didn’t play a year ago at East Carolina, but as a junior in 2012 caught 25 passes for 346 yards and three touchdowns to help lead the Greenville, North Carolina to an eight-win season and a berth in the New Orleans Bowl.

Jones started his prep career as a tight end, but under former Heritage coach Chad Frazier moved to defensive end for his senior season in 2008 and earned all-state honors at the position.

“Very exciting player, he had great height, great length, great jumping ability, he moved extremely well (and was) very athletic for his size. He was a very coachable kid,” said Frazier, who coached Jones during his junior and senior seasons. “On top of all that (Jones is) just a great kid, he was a lot of fun to be around.”

After a standout career in Conyers, Jones caught 21 passes for 211 yards and what turned out to be a career-high five touchdowns as a freshman at East Carolina. He finished with 598 receiving yards in 32 collegiate games and now will participate in the Patriots’ mini-camp starting this weekend.

“It’d be nice to think we had a hand in that,” Frazier said of Jones’ ascent to NFL prospect. “He’s the major part of it. Good person and a good kid, I’m extremely happy.”